Hungry to the Wolves
HSV resume their campaign to remain in the Bundesliga with an away trip to the VW Arena on Saturday (21.01.17, 3.30 PM) where VfL Wolfsburg await them on matchday 17 as the second half of the season finally begins after the winter break. The Rothosen are keen to carry on the fine form shown just before the winter break.
Bayern Munich visit SC Freiburg on Friday night as the two southern sides open the second half of the season with a Bundesliga matchday 17 clash. For the first time ever, the first half of the season ended after 2017 had begun. Fans and teams are bursting to get going again.
Anticipation is particularly high in the Rothosen camp. Everyone can’t wait for matchday 17 which sees coach Markus Gisdoland the posse making the relatively short trip to Niedersachsen, where they will lock horns with VfL Wolfsburg at the VW Arena on Saturday (21.01.17, 3.30PM). After an historically poor start to the season, HSV finally found some form as the winter break loomed, winning three of the last four games of 2016.The awful start saw the Rothosen take only two from a possible 30 points in their first ten matches. That good run still leaves Hamburg in a relegation spot with only 13 points collected so far, they are still 3 points from safety. So it is crucial to rekindle the spark from the end of last year if the Rothosen are to maintain their proud record of being the only team never to be relegated from the German topflight.
Until a couple of days ago, the Rothosen posse was working hard at the winter training camp in Dubai, where they laid the foundation for the impending season restart. Midfield battler Lewis Holtby told HSV.de this week: „ The form from the end of last year is still there and team spirit is high.“ The former Schalke man is available for selection again following suspension and is raring to go. Gisdol also has a chance to pick new signings Mergim Mavraj and Kyriakos Papadopoulos both of whom joined the club during the January transfer window. Only keeper Rene Adler (adductor), striker Pierre-Michel Lasogga (muscle) and Gideon Jung (build up) miss the trip to Wolfsburg.
The Rothosen visit the Wolves with their heads held high. Wolfsburg have also had a turbulent opening half to their season, with a change of head coach (Valerien Ismael for Dieter Hecking) and sport boss (Olaf Rebbe for Klaus Allofs). The Wolvesalso delved into the January transfer window signing for men so far, with Yunus Malli (FSV Mainz 05), Riechedly Bazoer (Ajax Amsterdam), Paul-Georges Ntep (Stade Rennes) and Victor Osimhen (Ultimate Strikers Academy) all joining them. Currently placed 13th in the table, the Wolves are desperate to kick start their season and put more space between themselves and the dreaded drop zone.
Wolfsburg have the worst home record in the Bundesliga so far this season. They have only collected 5 points at the VW Arena so far. At this time during the 2015/16 season they had already collected 32 points and 43th the previous campaign. HSV are welcome visitors on Saturday and a glance at the history books reveals why. HSV have not beaten the Wolves in the last ten encounters. Wolfsburg came out on top in four of the last five matches, the last time was the final day of last season as HSV went down 0-1 at the Volksparkstadion in Hamburg.
“Only real competition shows you how good you really are”
The quiet confidence of the Wolves will be met head on by Hamburg grit and determination. “A lot happened in Wolfsburg during the winter break, but we must only focus on our own game.” Lewis Holtby agreed with his boss as he said: “Of course Wolfsburg strengthened their team during the winter break but we travel their in confident mood with total faith in our own abilities. Hamburg hearts are pounding less than 24 hours before the restart. The break was used well and the proof of the pudding comes on Saturday afternoon in Wolfsburg. Gisdol: “ Only real competition shows you how good you really are.” How true!
HSV (from): Mathenia, Mickel, Diekmeier, Djourou, Douglas Santos, Ekdal, Gregoritsch, Holtby, Janjicic, Kostic, Mavraj, N. Müller, Ostrzolek, Papadopoulos, Porath, Sakai, Waldschmidt, Wood
4 yellow cards: Müller and Sakai
Possible VfL Wolfsburg line-up: Benaglio - Seguin, Bruma, R. Rodriguez, Gerhardt - Guilavogui, Luiz Gustavo - D. Caligiuri, Malli, Ntep - Gomez
4 yellow cards: Bruma
Referee: Felix Zwayer (Berlin)