Post match report


In position for one final push

The dramatic injury time equaliser at Schalke on Saturday ensured that the Rothosen still have their destiny in their own hands as matchday 34 looms. A victory over Wolfsburg at the packed Volöksparkstadion would ensure Bundesliga safety in the season climax next Saturday afternoon.

The heart-stopping 1-1 draw at Schalke, as Pierre-Michel Lasogga came, saw and scored two minutes into injury time at the end of the game, was still reverberating around the squad 17 hours later as they trained at the Volksparkstadion on Sunday. Broad smiles were the order of the day on the faces of players from all levels at the club. Lasogga’s crucial score has ensured that a home win over VfL Wolfsbvurg in Hamburg next Saturday would secure top flight safety for coach Markus Gisdol and his men. Gisdol knows how to value the situation and told the media at a meeting after Sunday training: "Yesterday was an amazing mixed up but positive day and the feeling is still here today. Now we must properly evaluate the result. We have earned a final chance which looked very distant for so long and almost out of sight at times at Schalke. We are happy about that but must now remain level-headed and extremely focused in order to bring the chase to a positive end on Saturday." reflects on the Gelsenkirchen nail biter, team news and looks ahead to a crucial week.

The Schalke game: The closing minutes of the 98th meeting of Schalke and HSV at the sold out Veltins-Arena (61.500) in Gelsenkirchen were filled with the home crowd in great voice what looked like celebrating certain victory following the superb header by Guido Burgstaller which opened the scoring on 25 minutes. HSV had their backs to the wall and were staring the first relegation in their history right in the face. Scores from other grounds filtered through it it became clear that if HSV were to fight another day they simply had to score. There followed six minutes of total insanity which would finally almost silence the huge crowd.

USA striker Bobby Wood found himself one on one with home keeper Fährmann but fluffed a certain scoring chance. Instead of Hamburg heads dropping the team pulled closer together for one final push as the game entered injury time. Gisdol told the media on Sunday: “A good thing about this team is how they fight adversity and the strong will they display in order to get things back on track. We didn’t lose our heads but instead got into their box again.” He was of course talking about the second minute of injury time as substitute Lasogga ended his 13 month goal drought by equalising for the Rothosen, and in doing so, sending over 6,000 travelling HSV faithful into raptures of joy. The decisive final pass to Lasogga was delivered by former Schalke favourite Holtby who was also guilty of missing an absolute sitter during the game. The action didn’t end there. Two minutes after the visitors had levelled a Schalke corner from Geis was nodded home by Sead Kolasinac. The Veltins-Arena exploded but soon quietened down again, after it was ruled that the ball was out of play as it was delivered into the box from the corner. “Such moments are so difficult to put into words. They are why we love our sport”, enthused Gisdol.

Team news: The Rothosen left everything on the pitch in Gelsenkirchen and paid the price. While Holtby was a candidate for substitution, the gritty midfielder stayed on. He received stitches to a wound in his foot after the game. Defensive stalwart Kyriakos Papadopoulos had a thigh would and could also have been taken off. On 49 minutes full back Dennis Diekmeier picked up what was a fifth booking and misses out on the final day of the season next Saturday as Wolfsburg visit the Volksparkstadion.

Apart from those examples, the mood in the HSV walking wounded club is looking positive. Central defender Mergim Mavraj is available for the Wolfsburg after serving a one match suspension. Seasoned defender Abin Ekdal is expected to resume training on Tuesday following a muscular injury. Aaron Hunt is expected to return in midfield after missing the Schalke trip with a slight thigh strain. Gisdol revealed that everything possible would be done in order to get him fit for the visit of his former club Wolfsburg.

Away from the subject of those on the comeback trail Gisdol took time to praise young duo debutant Bakery Jatta and fellow rookie Vasilije Janjicic (2 games) who paid their coach back handsomely for the trust bestowed in them with solid performances at Schalke. Lasogga just underlined what being part of a team is about. The coach: "A team does not work if only the eleven men playing are in good shape. It requires other players who may be going through a drought but keep going, prepared to give their all for the collective just like Pierre did today.”

Looking ahead: The 1.1 draw with Schalke sees the Rothosen requiring a win over Wolfsburg in the fial game of the season in order to remain in the Bundesliga. Markus Gisdol is trying to fully focus his men and what Wolfsburg do is not of any interest. The coach: “I don’t care about Wolfsburg’s situation because one thing is clear: We only have one game left and what happens at other grounds does not interest us. We will be fully focused on ourselves. We will meticulously prepare to bring our season-long catch up chase to a successful end.”