For the 100th time against Dortmund
Matchday 27 sees the Rothosen on their travels. They take on Borussia Dortmund away in what will be the 100th meeting between the two sides.
On December 21st 1963 HSV faced Borussia Dortmund for the first time in the newly-founded Bundesliga. A crowd of 30,000 at the Volksparkstadion saw the home side come back from being a goal down at the break to win 2-1 – thanks to a brace of goals by Uwe Seeler – his 12th and 13th goal of the season cancelling out the Dortmund opening goal scored by Reinhold Wosab. Since that pre-season game there have been a further 98 matches producing 352 goals. It is the most-played fixture in Bundesliga history. The fine tradition was only interrupted in the 1972/73 until the 1975/76 as Dortmund were relegated from Germany’s top flight. This evening (kick off 8.00 PM) the teams meet again in a much anticipated centenary game between the two sides.
“Victory is a good feeling”
Centenary is nothing new for the Rothosen – ask midfield battler Lewis Holtby, who played his 300th professional game in the home game against Cologne last time out and to celebrate his milestone the former Schalke man chipped in with the winning goal in injury time at the end of the game. The much quoted “battle of wills” at the sole out Volksparkstadion last weekend will remain long in the memory: “It was a very important victory for us but games are coming thick and fast so we cannot rest on our laurels”, knows Holtby, whose coach Markus Gisdol added: “Euphoria is the wrong word to describe it. The victory gave us a good feeling in the way other recent games have. We now face another tough task.”
The Rothosen boss has been foced to reshuffle his starting line-up for the Dortmund clash. His top scorer Nicolai Müller sustained a knee injury against Cologne which will likely keep him sidelined for six weeks. Gisdol: “It is tough losing a man like him and I hope that the man who replaces him can fill the void.” Those in the frame to replace Müller on the right wing are Michael Gregoritsch and Luca Waldschmidt. Gisdol’s selection headaches don’t end there. He is without key injured defenders Gideon Jung, Johan Djourou and former Dortmund star Kyriakos Papadopoulos. While those four can only look on in frustration there is some good news. Midfield veteran Aaron Hunt is expected to be at least on the bench on Wednesday night. After only recently recovering from a knee injury a start is considered too early for him.
A force at home
While HSV go into the game off the back of their dramatic 2-1 home win over Cologne, their hosts drew 1-1 at arch rivals Schalke last time out. Now the Champions League quarter finalists are relishing a sold out game under the floodlights of the magnificent Signal-Iduna Park where a crowd of 81,360 await them, including a massive contingent of travelling HSV fans. To say that Dortmund are strong at home is a bit of an understatement. Borussia are unbeaten in 33 Bundesliga games there (including last season). The last time they lost at home was against Bayern munich on April 4th 2015. Dortmund had the likes of Kevin Kampl, Jakub Blaszcykowski, Ilkay Gündogan, Mats Hummels and Neven Subotic in their team at that time. Their coach was now Liverpool boss Jürgen Klopp and the Bayern World Cup winner Bastian Schweinsteiger was forced off through injury.
All of those players now play for other clubs but Borussia have lost none of their potency. They are especially strong up front. Coach Thomas Tuchel’s side have scored 55 goals and have a record of 400 shots on goal - only second to Bayern (67 and 449). “What impresses me most about them is their plan of attack. They move forward in waves, rarely playing sideways or back passes. They play at a very high level and are the best team in Germany after Bayern.” Gisdol knows he will have to keep an eye on Dortmund top scorer who heads the Bundesliga top scorer list with 24 goals. The Gabun-born goal getter has scored an amazing 10 goals in his side’s last six matches. As Dortmund beat HSV 5-2 at the sold out Volksparkstadion in Hamburg earlier in the season Aubameyang was on target no less than four times.
HSV (from): Adler, Mathenia, Diekmeier, Douglas, Ekdal, Gregoritsch, Götz, Holtby, Hunt, Janjicic, Kostic, Lasogga, Mavraj, Ostrzolek, Sakai, Walace, Waldschmidt, Wood
Possible Borussia Dortmund line-up: Bürki - Piszczek, Ginter, Bartra - C. Pulisic, Weigl, Castro, Guerreiro - Kagawa, Dembele - Aubameyang
Referee: Markus Schmidt (Stuttgart)