Kiel the visitors for northern duel as HSV seek back-to-back home wins
Northern neighbours KSV Holstein Kiel make the short trip down to Hamburg on Monday night (kick-off 8:30pm CET) as the hosts look for a second win in a row at the Volksparkstadion.
After an action-packed return to league football since the middle of May, Hamburger SV enjoyed a week to rest and recuperate mentally and physically after last Sunday’s 3-2 win over Wehen Wiesbaden at the Volksparkstadion. Dieter Hecking’s troops will be looking to repeat the trick on Monday night at home to Holstein Kiel with the first back-to-back home games of the campaign and better the 1-1 draw that was played out at the Holstein-Stadion in November. However, Kiel are somewhat of a bogey team for the Rothosen, with the point gained in Kiel, which lies 90km north of Hamburg, the first point for HSV against Kiel since being relegated to the 2. Liga. In fact the club’s first-ever game in the second tier saw current Hamburg player David Kinsombi score a brace for the Storks in a 3-0 win at the Volksparkstadion for KSV in August 2018.
Kiel fail to spark into life since restart
Heading into their first game back after a two-month break on May 16th, Holstein Kiel manager Ole Werner saw his side in seventh position and only two points behind fifth-placed Greuther Fürth. This was testimony to the start that former academy manager Werner made to the job, having taken over from ex-Borussia Mönchengladbach coach André Schubert initially on an interim basis, before winning three of his first five games in charge, earning himself the job permanently. Another impressive unbeaten run of six games from December until the end of February saw KSV move into fifth position on Matchday 24, and with a chance of becoming an outside bet in the race for promotion. A 2-2 draw against Regensburg and 3-2 home win over Stuttgart in the first two games back after the restart promised much, but 2-1 losses to VfL Bochum and a heart-breaking last-minute loss last time out to leaders Arminia Bielefeld have seen Kiel drop like a stone in the very compact midfield area of the 2. Bundesliga table. As results didn’t go their way over the weekend, Kiel in fact start the game in 12th position on 38 points, but the Storks could climb as high as seventh with a win, showing just how many teams are within a stone’s throw of each other in the middle of the standings.
Opposition scouting report
Werner has been flexible in all three games since the restart, playing variations of a 4-3-3 formation to adapt to the personnel at his disposal and the opponent. The main tactical decision has rested around whether to have one or two holding midfielders, with Jonas Meffert (two goals) and Alexander Mühling (five goals, five assists) being the mainstays in central midfield as well as providing an attacking edge going forward. Only four teams in the division have scored more than the Storks’ tally of 45 goals, with the positive aspect for Werner being that the goals have been spread equally amongst his attacking unit. The young forward line of Janni Serra (eight goals, three assists), David Atanga (one goal, seven assists) and Emmanuel Iyoha (seven goals) offer pace, precision and directness, although Serra will have to sit Monday’s game out with a hamstring injury. The versatile South Korean attacking midfielder Jae-Sung Lee has been deployed all across midfield as well as up front over the course of the season, with nine goals and seven assists to his name, certainly one that the Rothosen backline will have to be aware of.
Lukas Hinterseer had little success in the first meeting between the two teams particularly in the air, with the experienced centre-back duo of Stefan Thesker and Hauke Wahl physically intimidating to any attacker that they face Yet only the four lowest teams in the table have conceded more goals than the Storks (46), with a lack of pace in the backline a particular worry. Dieter Hecking may be tempted to use the pace of Bakery Jatta and Sonny Kittel out wide to get at the Kiel defence, and create chances as the defenders are exposed or back off.
Dieter Hecking on Kiel: "I think that Kiel has developed very well in the past few years. They like to have the ball at their feet and have quality when they counter. But there will be situations in the game where we'll have our chances."
Narey and Ewerton only candidates missing for Hamburg
Dieter Hecking is able to call on an almost-complete squad for Monday night’s encounter, with only Khaled Narey and Ewerton missing from action, as both still recover from their knee troubles. Jan Gyamerah and Gideon Jung, who were both struggling with their hips, were able to return to full training this week but it might be a tad early for the pair to return to the fray, particularly with a quick turnaround before Friday’s game in Dresden and next Tuesday’s match-up against Osnabrück. The almost-full contingent presents a number of selection headaches for the Hamburg coaching staff, with Julian Pollersbeck making a strong contribution in his first appearance of the season last Sunday in goal, and David Kinsombi laying claim to one of the midfield positions with a man-of-the-match performance in the 3-2 win over Wiesbaden. Currently sitting on 49 points, Dieter Hecking will be hoping his side (49 points) can string together back-to-back wins to lay down a marker in the promotion race and put the pressure back on second-placed Stuttgart (52 points) and fourth-placed Heidenheim (48 points).
Holstein Kiel are the only opponents in the 2. Bundesliga who Hamburger SV haven’t beaten after three attempts. The point gained in Kiel in November 2019 was the first in the second division for HSV against Kiel after two losses in the 2018/19 season.
Only Darmstadt’s Serdar Dursun and Wehen Wiesbaden’s Manuel Schäffler (both 6) have scored more goals in 2020 in the 2. Bundesliga than Joel Pohjanpalo (5). The Finn has scored three in four appearances since the restart.
The Storks are the third best team away from home in the division, with 21 points on their travels. However, they’ve only gained one point from their last three games on the road.
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