„It will be a brutal second half of the season“
In the press conference ahead of the away game in Augsburg, HSV head coach spoke about the shape of the team, the upcoming opponent and the second half of the season.
It’s finally back – after a four-week break, the Bundesliga is back with the Friday night game between Bayer 04 Leverkusen and FC Bayern München. Meanwhile, Hamburger SV are back in action on Saturday afternoon and face a trip to FC Augsburg (13th January, 15:30 CET). The Rothosen are really excited for the return to the Bundesliga as HSV head coach Markus Gisdol confirmed in the obligatory press conference ahead of Matchday 18, “The excitement is building day by day. Whenever we play after being out for a while, the atmosphere is special and it’s great to play in. The wait is over this weekend and football is back.” Despite the excitement, the 48-year-old knows that there are tough tasks coming up in the rest of the season for him and his team, “It will be a brutal second half of the season. No team around us will break away that much. That means we will need to fight for every point that we can get. And give it our all.”
The boss spoke in detail at the press conference about…
…the condition of the team: The team are in a pretty good place at the moment, physically. That is definitely a key for success as the season goes on. We have the odd injured player but that is part of football and we are dealing with that. One or two players, who had previously not been given much game-time, staked their claim at the training camp. That will show in our team selection for Saturday.
…the goalkeeping duel: I have been deciding on this during the course of the week. The coaching staff and I will talk about it tonight and make a decision. We want to try and tell the players before it becomes public knowledge who is going to play. So we will tell the players tomorrow at training who is going to be the starting goalkeeper for the second half of the season.
…Walace‘s fitness: Walace is not in the best shape at the moment physically but also mentally he’s not 100%. So he won’t be in the squad for the Augsburg game.
…FC Augsburg: It is always hard to judge a team from afar. I think they have developed well as a team and have a good team spirit. They have some good goalscorers in their ranks too. That is definitely one of the team’s qualities that not only do they perform well but they are also clinical and they’ve shocked a few teams by winning this year.
…an improvement in performances from the strikers: The players need to up their game a bit. The goal tally from our best goalscorers is modest. We obviously could have scored a few more and picked up more points if one or two players had got six or seven goals by this stage. But we don’t have that luxury. So it’s now the attackers’ task, to build on their performances so far so that at the end of the season they can say that they met that aim.
…the second half of the season: We are really optimistic because we know that we can overcome our problems and find solutions. It will be a brutal second half of the season. The whole team is aware of that. People spoke before the season about this being one of the strongest Bundesliga seasons ever and I think that will continue to be the case between now and May. No No team around us will break away that much. That means we will need to fight for every point that we can get. And give it our all.” We need to convert the points that we gave away before Christmas into points that we wouldn’t have expected this side of Christmas. Then we will be on the right track.
…possible signings: We are discussing these things internally and I don’t want to mention any rumours. It isn’t a big secret that since Nicolai Müller’s injury we have been looking for a player in his position. We haven’t replaced him and we now need to. But it is really hard to find a suitable player in the January transfer window.