Intensity under floodlights
HSV took seven points from their last three home games. They have the same record against Bayer Leverkusen. Fans are hoping to add to that tally in Hamburg on Friday night.
“We must give everything we have” is what Rothosen coach Markus Gisdlol told the media at the pre-match press conference on Thursday. HSV face Bayer Leverkusen at the Volksparkstadion in Hamburg in a Bundesliga matchday 19 opener on Friday night (03.02.17, 8.30 PM). Previous meetings between the two sides have almost always produced drama and Friday night’s clash promises to be no different. The hosts have a decent record against them in recent years so home fans will be banking on that. The Rothosen have won two of the last three home games against Bayer (2-1 in April 2014 and 1-0 in November 2014), the other game ended all square. There were eight bookings in those games where no quarter was given.
Calhanoglu and Chicharito missing
Gisdol expects more of the same under the floodlights on Friday night. The coach: “It will be about who wins second ball in midfield and how quickly they can feed the men up top. I’m sure it will be an intense battle.” Gisdol is hoping for the right reaction to the dismal performance at Ingolstadt last time out (1-3). That defeat against fellow strugglers saw Gisdol’s side drop to second bottom place in the Bundesliga table and under huge pressure. Points are at a premium to put it lightly.
Leverkusen lost 2-3 to Borussia Mönchengladbach last time out squandering a 2-0 lead in the process. On 24 points they are well behind expectations so the pressure is also on them. Their coach Roger Schmidt is without two key stars for the trip to Hamburg: Former Man Utd striker Chicharito misses out with a muscular injury while more dramatically former HSV midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu was banned yesterday for four months by the FIFA Arbitration for Sport (CAS) for contractual matters.
Trio return - Walace in
Gisdol is without his suspended captain Gotoku Sakai, who picked up a fifth booking in Ingolstadt last week. Striker Pierre-Michel Lasogga (muscular injury) is the only other man unavailable for selection, although Michael Gregoritsch is a doubt after picking up an injury during training on Friday. On the good news side Albin Ekdal, Johan Djourou and keeper Rene Adler have made the squad as has new signing Walace, who joined the Rothosen from Brazilian top flight side Gremio Porto Alegre on Monday.
HSV (from): Adler, Mathenia, Diekmeier, Djourou, Douglas Santos, Ekdal, Gregoritsch, Holtby, Hunt, Jung, Kostic, Mavraj, N. Müller, Ostrzolek, Papadopoulos, Porath, Walace, Waldschmidt, Wood
Possible Bayer Leverkusen line-up: Leno - Henrichs, Tah, Toprak, Wendell - Aranguiz, Kampl - Bellarabi, Brandt - Volland, Kießling
Referee: Dr. Jochen Drees (Münster-Sarmsheim)