HSV head to in-form Wiesbaden
The first of two away trips sees the Rothosen head to SV Wehen Wiesbaden on Sunday lunchtime (3rd November), a team unbeaten in its last four games.
Bottom of the table they may be, but, as always, the table doesn’t tell the whole story about SV Wehen Wiesbaden, HSV’s opponents on Sunday lunchtime. Take the table from the past four matches in the 2. Bundesliga, and it paints a completely different picture. In first place are Holstein Kiel with nine points, followed by Hamburger SV and SV Wehen Wiesbaden on eight points, with two wins and two draws apiece. With only one goal having been conceded in those four encounters, away at VfB Stuttgart, and suddenly, a match-up away at the team at the foot of the table, doesn’t sound quite so enticing as it did a few weeks ago.
Focus on the hosts
SV Wehen 1926 was founded in Taunusstein in, you guessed it, 1926, by 39 club members. The club spent the majority of its time in the lower reaches of regional football in Hessen, slowly establishing itself in first the Oberliga Hessen then the Regionalliga Süd at the turn of the millenium, playing ten seasons in a row in the old German third division, before achieving promotion to the 2. Bundesliga for the first time in the club’s history in the 2006/07 season. This also coincided with vast changes off the pitch, as the club moved from its old home in Halberg to the brand-new BritaArena (the team is sponsored by the German water filtering company Brita) in Wiesbaden, a 10km move to the south-east.
The move to the quiet university town, a stone’s throw across the river from Mainz in the south-west of Germany, meant that the newly-named SV Wehen Wiesbaden were much more accessible, with better transport links to nearby Mainz and Frankfurt, and enjoyed the best period in the club’s history. However, relegation back to the newly-formed 3. Liga followed in May 2009, a division that the club would stay in for over a decade. Former Arminia Bielefeld manager Rüdiger Rehm took over the helm in Wiesbaden in 2017, and guided the club back to the 2. Bundesliga in May 2019, dramatically defeating Sonny Kittel’s Ingolstadt on away goals in the second division Bundesliga playoff to finally secure a return back to the promised land.
Opposition scouting report
Rehm’s team were written off by all before the season began, with a shoe-string budget and an average attendance of just over 3,000 in the third tier last season. The predictions seemed to be accurate, as Wehen could only muster one point from their first seven games in the 2. Liga, in a 3-3 draw away at fellow strugglers VfL Bochum, a game in which Wiesbaden led 3-0 at half-time. Yet, after 5-0 and 5-2 drubbings at the hands of Regensburg and Bielefeld at the Brita-Arena, a 2-0 home win over fellow promoted side VfL Osnabrück gave hope, before a stunning 2-1 win away at VfB Stuttgart, inflicting the Swabian’s first defeat of the season in their own back garden. Two back-to-back goalless draws against Heidenheim and Sandhausen mean Wiesbaden have the safety zone in sight heading into Matchday 12.
With 18 new faces having joined the club in the summer, all on free transfers, it is perhaps no surprise that they took time to gel together as a squad, as well as getting used to Rehm’s preferred 3-4-3 formation. The formation relies heavily on overloads in the wing-back and winger positions, looking to fire as many balls in as possible to target man Manuel Schäffler, who is the clear dangerman for the hosts. Only Bochum’s Silvere Ganvoula can match Schäffler’s current tally of eight goals so far in the second division, with the 30-year-old’s killer instinct and clinical finishing particularly impressive in a side that doesn’t provide him with a plethora of chances. Former Eintracht Frankfurt and 1860 Munich veteran Stefan Aigner’s experience on the wings is something else that Rick van Drongelen and Gideon Jung will have to watch out for on Sunday afternoon.
A number of question marks as HSV travel south
The HSV double-header against VfB Stuttgart really took its toll on the squad, with question marks hanging over four players before the team headed south on Saturday afternoon. Aaron Hunt’s injury woes continue, as the club captain pulled his hamstring in Tuesday’s cup clash, and did not travel with the team to Hessen, whilst Josha Vagnoman has broken the tarsal bone in his foot and shall be out of action at least until Christmas. Lukas Hinterseer and Martin Harnik both have muscular problems and are current uncertainties for Sunday’s clash, whilst Jairo Samperio and Jeremy Dudziak both picked up knocks on Tuesday but should be in the matchday squad come Sunday. Since losing to St. Pauli on Matchday 6, HSV have put a fine run of results together, most recently the 6-2 dismantling of Stuttgart last Saturday at the Volksparkstadion. But the cup loss to the same opposition on Tuesday night, as well as two draws and a loss from the past three away games, will give the squad extra motivation to get the three points on Sunday afternoon.
Dieter Hecking on Wiesbaden: “I am assuming that we have the right mentality and the quality to beat Wiesbaden on Sunday. But, I warn against underestimating our opponents. In the form table from the past four games Wehen Wiesbaden are in third position. At the beginning of the season they got taught a few harsh lessons, particularly at home, but have stabilised since then, which means we need to respect them. It won’t be a walk in the park. We have to invest a lot, to win at the Brita-Arena.”
This is the first duel between the two sides in the league. Wiesbaden have faced HSV twice before, both in the DFB Pokal, with Hamburg emerging as winners on both occasions, most recently last season, with a goal from Douglas Santos helping the Rothosen to a 3-0 win.
Wiesbaden haven’t conceded a goal during their last two home games in a row – a new club record in the second division. Heinz Lindner hasn’t conceded a goal at the Brita-Arena in 197 minutes.
Hamburg have scored 28 goals in their first 11 league games this season – only Karlsruhe in 2006/07 (29) and Hannover in 2001/02 (31) have scored more goals by this point in a season this century.
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