Cup clash filled with tradition against familiar faces Dresden
Hamburger SV travel to Saxony on Monday night (kick-off 6:30pm CET) for the opening game of the season, a tough match-up in the first round of the DFB Pokal against old foe Dynamo Dresden.
Two and a half months later and a new season is upon us. Whilst the conditions for the traditional opening game of the season are anything other than usual, Hamburger SV can at least count on a few familiarities as the 2020/21 season kicks into gear. A familiar opponent awaits in the first round of the DFB Pokal in Dynamo Dresden, relegated from the 2. Liga in June but who provided a stern test on both occasions in the league last campaign. And a difficult trip into the former East Germany in the first round of the cup for the fifth time in seven years, after last year’s hard-fought win on penalties over Chemnitz back in August 2019. HSV have undoubtedly one of the hardest draws of the first round as all first and second division sides apart from a handful have to play away in the first round. The Rudolf-Harbig-Stadion is one of the least welcoming grounds in Germany and with 8,500 Dynamo fans allowed for the opening game of the season, it will be a tough test for Daniel Thioune’s men from the get go.
Focus on the hosts
Cristian Fiél was sacked by East German giants Dynamo Dresden in November after a poor run of form and was replaced by former Karlsruhe and St. Pauli manager Markus Kauczinski. 50-year-old Kauczinski certainly improved the side, but couldn’t drag them off the foot of the table, as two positive coronavirus cases amongst the Dresden squad meant that the Black and Yellows had to play seven games within 21 days after the restart, a mountain that they couldn’t surmount. After four seasons in the 2. Bundesliga, the team from the cathedral city returned to the third tier with relegation at the end of June and will start the new 3. Liga as one of the favourites to bounce straight back up.
Former HSV sporting director Ralf Becker was tasked with turning the Saxon giants around after taking over from Ralf Minge in July, in a summer of upheaval in Dresden. 11 players departed the club whilst 13 have arrived through the doors, with an emphasis from Becker on youth to bring back the Dynamo identity of bringing through fresh, young talent and also providing a more sustainable business model. Becker also ensured the necessary experience is on board with the signings of seasoned 2. Liga campaigners Yannick Stark from Darmstadt and Philipp Hosiner from Chemnitz. Christoph Daferner has been signed from Freiburg on a permanent basis and also provides experience at a higher level having spent last season on loan in Aue, and will be looking to provide firepower in a lone striker role. Meanwhile, highly-rated 19-year-old centre-back Kevin Ehlers has continued to impress in pre-season and will hope to continue his development in the first team in the third division this campaign.
Pre-season saw the Black and Yellows lose three in a row without scoring against Union Berlin, Eintracht Braunschweig and Norwich but their last outing resulted in a 1-0 win in the Saxon derby against Erzgebirge Aue. No doubt, the Dresden players will be up for the fight on Monday night and looking to pull off a shock with the vociferous support of 8,500 fans behind them.
Daniel Thioune on Dresden: “Tomorrow we face off against a very good opponent and it will no doubt be a tricky game. You could see yesterday how difficult it can be against teams from the third and fourth division. We know what to expect. We've watched a lot of video material and the lads have trained very well."
Jatta and Gyamerah miss out as HSV look to kick into gear
Pre-season saw a mixed bag of results for the Rothosen, with disappointing defeats to Danish sides Midtylland and Randers preceding the scalps of Feyenoord and Hertha BSC most recently at the Volksparkstadion. Daniel Thioune makes his touchline bow as HSV manager in Dresden, eager to start off on the right foot with the 2. Bundesliga opener against Fortuna Düsseldorf only four days away (kick-off 6:30pm CET). The 46-year-old will have to do without Bakery Jatta and Jan Gyamerah in Saxony, with Jatta still recovering from a torn adductor in his hamstring and it deemed too early and risky to bring Gyamerah back given his previous injury concerns. Ewerton and Julian Pollersbeck also miss out, with Thioune confirming at Sunday’s press conference that Daniel Heuer Fernandes will start in goal for the Rothosen. Tim Leibold will lead the team out for the first team as the newly-appointed captain, taking the armband from Aaron Hunt, and will be ably assisted by his two deputies Toni Leistner and Klaus Gjasula.
Where can I watch the game?
The game will be shown internationally on the DFB’s YouTube channel from 6:25pm CET.
Czech Republic: Digi GO, Nova Sport 1
Hungary: Sport 1 Hungary
Portugal: Sport TV3
Slovakia: Digi GO, Nova Sport 1