Match Preview


HSV enter final straight needing victory in Dresden

Hamburger SV travel to Dresden on Friday night (kick-off 6:30pm CET) for their next 2. Bundesliga match-up, with three points the order of the day to get some forward momentum heading into the promotion run-in.

The tightly-packed schedule entering the final four matchdays of the 2. Bundesliga means that HSV don’t have too much time to dwell on Monday’s six-goal draw against Holstein Kiel, with the focus already turning to tomorrow night’s fixture in Dresden. The Hamburg backroom staff changed things up with only one proper day of training in the three-day turnaround from Monday to Friday, taking the team to play footgolf in Soltau just outside Hamburg on Wednesday. At Thursday’s press conference, Hecking was confident the change in scenery had had a positive effect on his troops, with no phone signal meaning that players and coaching staff alike were able to mingle, relax and talk about things away from football before Friday’s fixture against relegation-threatened Dynamo Dresden. Having missed out on the chance to close the gap to VfB Stuttgart and also distance themselves from Heidenheim against Kiel, both the HSV coaching staff and the club’s fans will be hoping the players got the mental recuperation they needed to seal a much-needed win on Friday evening.

Focus on the hosts

Dresden have been somewhat chaotic in the past two years, firing Uwe Neuhaus in August 2018 and are onto their third manager since the current Arminia Bielefeld coach left after one game of the 2018/19 season. Former player Cristian Fiél took over the reins from Maik Walpurgis at the end of February 2019, but was sacked at the end of November after a 2-1 loss to Holstein Kiel. Former Karlsruhe, Ingolstadt and St. Pauli manager Markus Kauczinski became the fourth Dynamo manager in just over a year in December, but despite glimmers of hope, his side haven’t moved off the bottom spot since the loss to Kiel in November on Matchday 15. 

Dynamo’s plight was made all the more difficult when the club was hit by four coronavirus cases in the middle of May, meaning that the club’s first two matches back after the restart had to be postponed as the whole squad and coaching staff went into quarantine. The fixture pile-up means the club from Saxony had to complete their remaining nine matches inside 29 days, and the match against Hamburg on Friday will already be their fifth inside thirteen days. Unsurprisingly, the ‘Black and Golds’ took a while to get back into their stride, losing 2-0 to VfB Stuttgart and 3-0 to form-side Hannover, before an important 3-2 win against fellow strugglers Wehen Wiesbaden last Saturday and 1-1 draw against Greuther Fürth on Tuesday evening. Four points from their last two games saw them draw level with 17th-placed Wiesbaden on 28 points, two behind Karlsruhe in the relegation play-off spot and five behind Nuremberg with a game in hand.

Opposition scouting report

A quick glance at the table tells you all you need to know about why Dresden are in the position that they find themselves in. Only Wiesbaden (52) and Nuremberg (50) have conceded more than the Black and Golds (49), whilst Dynamo are comfortably last when it comes to goals scored on 29, with St. Pauli next on 35. The leaky defence has been apparent since the restart as well, with seven of the eight goals conceded in four games coming in the first half. Having said that, no side has conceded fewer goals in the second half since the resumption of football, with Dynamo only having conceded one goal after the break. Therefore, Hamburg will be looking to use their opponents’ defensive frailties in the first half to build a sizeable lead. 

The transfer policy from Dresden has been particularly baffling in the past few years, with key players let go for little or no money. The pattern continued in the January transfer window when Moussa Koné was sold for less than his market value to Nîmes, whilst also taking away a player who had contributed to seven of Dynamo’s 17 goals before Christmas in the league. No one has really been able to step up after the Senegalese’s departure, with on-loan Heidenheim striker Patrick Schmidt somewhat filling the hole with five goals and an assist. Striker Alexander Jeremejeff has failed to hit the ground running with four goals in 21 appearances, but the Swede will be hoping to use his size to win set pieces, something Dynamo excel at and an area Hamburg have struggled with all season. Kauczinski has also been tactically flexible the past few games, switching between a back four and a back three, making it difficult to know what lies ahead for the Rothosen. However, given the predicament they are in, there’s no doubt Dresden will throw themselves into the game and try and claw their way out of the bottom three. 

Dieter Hecking on Dresden: “They'll be highly motivated, will want to trip us up and gain some valuable points in the relegation dogfight. I've watched their past few games, they're very committed and believe they're going to get the points they need.”

Three points a must for Rothosen heading into final four

The Rothosen were bitterly disappointed to give away yet another late goal on Monday night, conceding a 94th-minute equaliser to Jae-sung Lee in a pulsating 3-3 draw with Holstein Kiel at the Volksparkstadion. Dieter Hecking won’t have been happy with how open his side was defensively, conceding three fairly soft goals to cancel out yet more impressive attacking play, as Hamburg drew for the third time in five games. One of the positives has been the form of front-man Joel Pohjanpalo since the restart, the Finn powering in his fourth header and fifth goal in five against the Storks, and will be looking to keep his run going against Dresden. 

Right-back Jordan Beyer injured muscles in the final training session before heading to Saxony and won’t travel with the squad, along with Khaled Narey and Ewerton (knee problems). Other than that, Dieter Hecking can rely on a full contingent, with a victory of the utmost importance for HSV (50 points) to put the pressure back on VfB Stuttgart (52 points) and Heidenheim (48 points) who play later in the weekend. With only three matches left after the trip to Dresden, time is running out to put the points on the board needed to work towards the stated aim of the season.

Matchday facts

Dynamo Dresden have only won once in fourteen attempts against HSV in German professional football, a 3-0 home win back in December 1991. Six draws and seven losses followed since then.
Dresden have secured 14 points since going behind this season, only Hamburg (16) and Darmstadt (15) have won more points from losing positions.
Joel Pohjanpalo has scored every 79 minutes for the Rothosen since signing in January, with seven goals in ten games, five of which he’s scored with his head.