Preliminary report


HSV hoping to be rewarded with a balanced performance in Darmstadt

After two goalless draws, HSV have the opportunity to return to winning ways away at SV Darmstadt 98 on Friday evening. The aim for the Rothosen tonight is to find the right balance between being defensively compact and being bold in attack.

David Bates will have to mute his birthday celebrations for a couple of hours on Friday evening. The Scottish defender celebrates his 22nd birthday and he hopes for the perfect present as he and his HSV teammates go in search of an important victory in the Stadion am Böllenfalltor (18:30 CEST). The defender is also hoping to help his side keep a third clean sheet in consecutive matches after the 0-0 draws with FC St. Pauli and Greuther Fürth. On this occasion, Bates hopes to keep a clean sheet to help his side to victory. “After the heavy defeat against Regensburg, we concentrated on improving defensively and now we have kept two clean sheets in a row. We need to maintain this defensive stability and at the same time become more dangerous and bold in attack,” said Bates, who currently is the best HSV defender for tackles won in the 2. Bundesliga.

This week, Christian Titz described it as “finding the right balance.” The HSV head coach has opted to improve on attacking play in training this week with the main focus being on pressing forwards. “We have worked on increasing the tempo of our game and getting players into positions so that we can get into dangerous areas of the final third of the pitch, ideally in one-on-one situations,” explain Titz. He doesn’t want to improve HSV’s attacking game at the expensive of defensive stability. There has to be a balance between the two.Titz continues: “Then we will be rewarded for our efforts after three matches without a win.” Titz and his coaching team know that three matches without three points, for a team that wants to be at the top of the table long term, is too long of a streak. The team will look to end this run on Friday evening at Darmstadt although the coach is expecting it to be a difficult match. “Darmstadt are very strong at home, fundamentally stable and can turn defence into attack very quickly. They threaten the last line of defence very quickly by using a long ball game and they can be dangerous in front of goal. Therefore, it will be a difficult game for us,” said Titz, who expects HSV’s opponents to be tough to break down.

The circumstances haven’t changed for HSV as many of the teams who they have played this season play in a similar style to what Darmstadt will operate on Friday evening. “In contrast to the Bundesliga, where nearly all the teams are strong and operate a more aggressive style of play, most 2. Bundesliga teams choose to sit back and allows us to have possession in the middle of the pitch and sometimes even far into their own half. Sometimes we have to be patient and wait until the gap opens for us to create a chance.” These gaps will hopefully open up as HSV look to reverse the fortunes of recent weeks and go into the international break with three more points.

Christian Titz has opted for the same squad that faced St. Pauli last week and apart from the players suffering from long term injuries, the entire is squad is fit and highly motivated to to play after a busy fortnight for the club. “We want to and have to win this match,” says Bates. “The table is very close, especially in the top third and we have to take points out of the game on Friday.” Three points would be the ideal outcome and not just the perfect birthday present for Bates.

The squad to face SV Darmstadt 98 on Friday (18:30 CEST)

Goalkeepers: Pollersbeck, Mickel; Outfield: Arp, Bates, Chan, Douglas, Holtby, Hunt, Ito, Janjicic, Lacroix, Lasogga, Mangala, Moritz, Narey, Sakai, Steinmann, van Drongelen.

Potential Darmstadt starting XI: Heuer Fernandes - Sirigu, Franke, Sulu, Holland - Medojevic, Kempe - Heller, Wurtz, Jones - Dursun