Match Preview


Looking to bounce back against underestimated Aue

After the disappointment of the derby defeat to St. Pauli on Monday evening, Dieter Hecking’s men have the opportunity to get back to winning ways at home to Erzgebirge Aue on Sunday afternoon (kick-off 1:30pm CEST). Despite an early change of manager, the Violets have already accrued eleven points of their own and are not to be underestimated.

Write off Aue at your peril was the clear message coming out of the HSV camp this week. “I’ve learnt very quickly here in Hamburg that a name like St. Pauli is treated a lot differently to a name like Aue. It’s seen as an easy game and that’s a mistake that we cannot afford to make at all,” was Head of Sport Jonas Boldt’s assessment of Sunday’s opponents. Wounded after the 2-0 derby reverse at the Millerntor, the Rothosen’s first defeat of the season, the club’s hierarchy and the fans will be looking for a response on Sunday afternoon at the Volksparkstadion. However, coach Dieter Hecking is sure that his charges know what needs to be done: “The players were very self-critical after Monday’s game, like they are after every game, and you could see the intensity go up a notch this week in training.” The Hamburg side will have to be at their best to bounce back from the derby disappointment, and defeat an Aue side who have surprised many a team so far this campaign. 

Focus on the visitors

FC Erzgebirge Aue e.V., based in the small town of Aue-Bad Schlema deep in the Erzgebirge mountains, has always been a club that has punched above its weight. Perched right next to the border to the Czech Republic, around 100km south-east of Leipzig, the town of 20,000 inhabitants has a sporting pedigree going back to the time when the club was known as BSG Wismut Aue, playing in the ‘Oberliga DDR’, the highest division of football in the former East Germany. After the reunification of Germany in 1990, Wismut became Erzgebirge, still enjoying the support of the fans from the surrounding area, an area blessed with natural resources which still sees mining as one of its biggest employers. Thus, the ‘Macht aus dem Schacht’ as they proudly call themselves (the Force from the Mining Shaft doesn’t sound quite as catchy in English), have developed a reputation as an incredibly hard-working team to match the steeliness of the fans they represent. 

The Violets have been in the second division for the majority of the past decade, with one season in the third tier in 2015/16 resulting in automatic promotion as runners-up. The team from Saxony have been able to establish themselves since then, securing survival in the 2017/18 season via a relegation play-off against Karlsruher SC, with current HSV under-21 boss Hannes Drews guiding the Violets to safety. Daniel Meyer took over from Drews, and secured a 14th-placed finish last time out and six points from the first three games of this campaign, before being parting ways with the club. Former Darmstadt and Augsburg manager Dirk Schuster took over the reins, securing a goalless draw against Stuttgart, 1-1 draw away in Kiel as well as his first win at the helm last time out against Osnabrück, meaning that Aue sit two points behind HSV in fifth position in the table.

Dieter Hecking on what to expect from Aue: “I’m expecting an Aue team who will work hard for each other but will look to play football. They’re not just very compact without the ball but have some very good individual players. Once again: we’re not talking of the Erzgebirge of four, five years ago who were struggling against relegation but a club that has developed and will be a strong opponent come Sunday. We cannot think that we can win a game in the second division before a whistle is blown. And especially not against a strong team like Aue.”


With a mere six goals conceded in as many second division games so far, it’s clear that one of the strengths of Sunday’s visitors is their team spirit and defensive solidity. Promotion hopefuls VfB Stuttgart found it difficult to break Schuster’s team down, heading away from the Erzgebirge mountains with a point to show for their efforts. Martin Männel, the Violet’s first-choice goalkeeper for over a decade, lays the foundations at the back, not only being a great shot stopper and commanding his box with authority, but also able to build the play out from the back, comfortable with the ball at his feet. Defensive midfielder Clemens Fandrich is also a key player for the East German side in both aspects, providing cover in front of his defence as well as starting attacks with his pinpoint passing. 

In Schuster’s normal 4-2-3-1 system, front man Pascal Testroet plays a vital role as a lone striker, looking to bring attacking midfielders Dimitrij Nazarov and Jan Hochscheidt into the game with his build-up play, as well as gobbling up any chances that fall to him. After relatively unsuccessful spells in Bremen, Bielefeld, Osnabrück and Dresden, Testroet established himself in the second tier with a breakout season in 2018/19, scoring 15 goals in 33 games in the league for the Violets, at times almost singlehandedly powering Aue to safety. Whilst having failed to open his account in 2. Liga so far this campaign, the 28-year-old provided the assist for Tom Baumgart’s winner last time out against Osnabrück and it is surely only a matter of time before he finds his shooting boots in the league, having put two past Wacker Nordhausen in the first round of the DFB Pokal. 

Letschert nearing return as HSV aim to return to winning ways

After the sad news of Jan Gyamerah’s broken fibula last week, there was some positive news for the HSV squad this week, with Timo Letschert back in full training with the rest of the squad after his prolonged rehabilitation break. However, Dieter Hecking stated in his press conference on Friday it was unlikely that the Dutchman would make the bench on Sunday. Meanwhile goalkeeper Julian Pollersbeck will play for the under-21 side on Sunday against Eintracht Norderstedt in the Regionalliga in order to gain some match practice and due to two of the under-21 goalkeepers having been added to the injury list themselves in the past few weeks. 

Thus with Letschert not yet fit and Gyamerah and Christoph Moritz still sidelined, the squad for Sunday’s game is likely to look very similar to that which faced St. Pauli. A positive start to the season saw four wins in a row for the Rothosen, before succumbing to their first loss of the season last time out against St. Pauli. Dimitrios Diamantakos put the home side ahead after a sloppy first half an hour from Dieter Hecking’s men, with a lack of potency in front of goal meaning Rick van Drongelen’s second-half own goal sealed the first setback of the new campaign. Van Drongelen and the rest of the team will be looking to get back to winning ways on Sunday, building on their current haul of 13 points and starting another strong run of form.

Fun facts

HSV have faced Erzgebirge Aue three times in the club’s history and remain unbeaten. Last season they won 3-1 away in Saxony before a 1-1 draw at the Volksparkstadion in March.

With eleven points from six games, Aue have made their second-best ever start to a league campaign, having only bettered their current tally with 13 points by this stage in the 2010/11 season.

Both teams have only lost one game so far this season, HSV against arch rivals St. Pauli on Monday night and Aue in Bielefeld on Matchday 3.

The Violets had 16 shots in the first half of their game against Osnabrück last time out, only one off the second division record for most shots in a half.

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