Pre match report
Gisdol’s first return game
HSV are keen to add to their 5-game unbeaten home run at home to Hertha on Sunday. For home boss Markus Gisdol it marks his first return league game since he filled the Rothosen hot seat earlier this season.
As HSV faced Hertha BSC away from home earlier in the season, coach Markus Gisdol had only had two days to have a look at his squad after agreeing terms on a contract until the end of the season. HSV lost 0-2 at the tradition-steeped Olympic stadium in Berlin despite a gritty performance which included six bookings. Gisdol: “It took us a couple of games to be able to make our own picture of the situation. We then decided to implement certain measures. And apart from the recent game in Munich, we have developed as a team and our progress is good.”
Three possible Mavraj replacements
The stats back him up. After Gisdol moved to Hamburg his side took a solitary point from a possible 15 in his first five games in charge. Since his measures were introduced however HSV have taken a creditable 19 points from a dozen matches. So the home side on Sunday are more or less starting from scratch again. But with one major difference: this time the team is competitive and especially strong at home in recent games. HSV won three (Augsburg, Schalke, Leverkusen) and drew 2 (Bremen, Freiburg) of their last five home games. Hertha visit the Volksparkstadion on Sunday evening (05.03.17, 5.50 PM) with an away record which leaves a lot to be desired. The capital city side have only managed 9 points from 11 games on their travels. Only Schalke (0 away wins) and Darmstadt 98 (no win) have a worse away record in the Bundesliga. Hertha did manage two wins over relegation-threatened Ingolstadt (2:0) and VfL Wolfsburg (3:2): “Hertha are currently in fifth place on 37 points. That says a lot about them. They are a very disciplined unit, are stable and especially good at defending a lead”, explained Gisdol this week.
The coach is without first choice central defender Mergim Mavraj on Sunday. The defender ruptured a tendon in his left knee during the 1-2 DFB Cup home defeat to Galdbach earlier in the week. Gisdol: “Of course it is bitter. He is a good man on and off the pitch.” He told the media at the pre-mach press conference in Hamburg this week: “We will find a good alternative.” Gisdol could welcome back fit again former skipper Joan Djourou to the fold. But Gideon Jung and Albin Ekdal are also keen to play. Gisdol said of Jung and Ekdal: “They proved before the winter break that they are serious contenders for central defence.”
Good reaction in cup clash
Pal Dardai – Hertha’s Gisdol counterpart also has some selection issues on his plate. It is touch and go regarding the inclusion of key defender Sebastian Langkamp (neck and back problems) on the trip to Hamburg. Fabian Lustenberger has the flu and is doubtful. Both men could remain at home for treatment. In order to shake the schedule a little Dardai took his coaching staff and squad to a shooting range. Sunday will show whether it improved their aim!
HSV bounced back well at home to Gladbach in the DFB Cup quarter final clash earlier this week. Although the Rothosen lost 1-2, the team performance was much better than the one shown last week in Munich. Gisdol: “For us it is vital to put such things behind us as quickly as possible. Our team has that ability.” Time to turn that kind of performance into points. There is though a kind of “good omen”. Almost a year to the day, HSV played Hertha at home on March 5th 2016 in a Sunday game which also kicked off at 5.30 PM. That day a brace by Hamburg’s Nicolai Müller gave the Rothosen a 2-0 victory. More of the same please lads!
HSV (from): Adler, Mathenia, Bahoui, Diekmeier, Djourou, Douglas Santos, Ekdal, Gregoritsch, Holtby, Hunt, Janjicic, Jung, Kostic, Lasogga, N. Müller, Ostrzolek, Papadopoulos, Sakai, Walace, Wood
Possible Hertha BSC line-up: Jarstein - Pekarik, S. Langkamp, Brooks, Plattenhardt - Stark, Skjelbred - Haraguchi, Darida, Kalou - Ibisevic
Referee: Dr. Felix Brych (München)