Get to the semi-finals with vigour

HSV face Paderborn in the DFB-Pokal quarter-finals, aiming to get into the semis for the first time in 10 years.

It was a scruffy battle in the box and, after a rebound, the ball finally rolled into a dangerous area, where Berkay Özcan was in the right place at the right time to slot home. His perfect technique provided the celebrations for his teammates, coaches and fans. Özcan had scored to make it 1-0 against FC Nürnberg, which ended up being enough to get HSV over the line and into the quarter-finals of the DFB-Pokal. Die Rothosen thoroughly deserved to go through.

Five days later, Fabian Böhm then conducted the draw for the next round of the competition. The Handball player acted as the host for the draw, eventually picking out HSV and SC Paderborn together, a fixture that went down in history for rather inglorious reasons in the past. However, the first-round game in 2004 was far from the players’ minds today. They are instead focussed on getting to the semi-finals. The last time HSV reached the semi-finals was in April 2009, ten years ago, while the last DFB-Pokal trophy came in 1987, when they beat Werder Bremen in the final. 

Self-belief and positivity

To be successful and get to the semi-finals, die Rothosen have to be more offensive than they have been in recent games, the game against VfL Bochum (0-0) springing to mind. “We have to take a step forward,” was the impression from the coach, Hannes Wolf, who has been working with his team over the last few days to prepare for a more attacking performance. An attacking presence should bring the necessary vigour to the pitch that will be needed to beat Paderborn.

The facilities in Harsewinkel offered the HSV players optimal conditions to prepare themselves for the difficult task ahead of them, and, from a logistical point of view, was a sensible starting point after the match in the Ruhr. Yesterday afternoon, the team finally made the 55 kilometre trip to Paderborn, where they will complete the final training session before the match this afternoon. The coach recognised the significance of the game and the importance of the chance HSV have in front of them: “A quarter-final is always a very special game. We will definitely need the right attitude to this game and bring everything we can to it. However, in the league we beat Paderborn, so we can bring a level of self-confidence and positivity to the game as well.” The match Wolf was referring to was a match in December, which is perhaps a performance HSV could look to for inspiration.  A goal from Khaled Narey – who was on loan at Paderborn during the 2015/16 season – gave HSV a 1-0 win, which could be encouraging for the upcoming fixture.

Offensive vs. Defensive strength

Nevertheless, Wolf showed an appropriate level of respect for the opposition, who have provided a large offensive threat this season. Steffen Baumgart’s team have scored 61 goals in the 2. Bundesliga this season – a feat only FC Köln have exceeded (68). The attacking prowess of Paderborn was present once again over the weekend, where SCP won 3-1 away to Union Berlin. This season’s newcomers occupy a respectable 4th place in the league, which illustrates the rapid development of the club in recent months.

The offensive power of Paderborn will be up against Hamburg’s defence, which has been the second best in the league this season. It will be an exciting clash, even if all the league stats don’t count for anything. After all, the charm of the DFB-Pokal is based mainly on the magic of the occasion and the fact that one team has to win all of their games. A goal can be enough to get you through or knock you out. Much like in February 2019, when Berkay Özcan scored to get HSV through to the quarters. Regardless of which player has the defining moment today, there’s no reason for HSV to believe that they can’t get through. 

HSV squad:Goal: Pollersbeck, Mickel; Outfield: Bates, David, Holtby, Janjicic, Jatta, Jung, Köhlert, Lacroix, Lasogga, Mangala, Narey, Opoku, Özcan, Papadopoulos, Sakai, Santos, van Drongelen 

Possible SC Paderborn side: Ratajczak - Dräger, Schonlau, Strohdiek, Collins - Vasiliadis - Tekpetey, Klement, Antwi-Adjej - Zolinski, Michel

Referee: Tobias Welz