Keep momentum going at home to Sandhausen
The last home game of 2020 sees SV Sandhausen travel to the Volksparkstadion on Tuesday night (kick-off 6:30pm CET).
There was little time or need to celebrate the tight victory over Darmstadt on Saturday, Hamburger SV knowing it was a welcome return to winning ways, but with focus turning quickly to the visit of Sandhausen to the Volksparkstadion a mere three days later. Adding to the feeling was the knowledge that whilst the Rothosen had fought hard for the victory in Hessen, Daniel Thioune will be looking for a little more attacking creativity and guile in the last home fixture of the calendar year. The visitors will provide a stern test, throwing everything at their hosts to try and escape the poor run of form they currently find themselves in. The HSV coaching staff only need to look back as far as Matchday 34 of the 2019/20 season to see how dangerous the team from Baden-Württemberg can be.
Focus on the visitors
After a strong finish to the previous campaign and with a settled squad at the Hardtwaldstadion, a number of observers were expecting Sandhausen to make an assault on the upper half of the 2. Bundesliga table in their ninth consecutive season in the second tier. Signs were promising in the opening four games of the season, but Uwe Koschinat’s team were unable to turn good performances into points, conceding two late goals to fellow strugglers Eintracht Braunschweig at the start of November to draw from a winning position. After a 1-0 loss in Düsseldorf, the 49-year-old was relieved of his duties and replaced by Würzburg promotion coach Michael Schiele. Things have barely improved since, a 3-2 win over Schiele’s former side sandwiched by thrashings at the hands of Erzgebirge Aue and Greuther Fürth most recently on Friday night.
Opposition scouting report
Schiele has switched things up somewhat since taking over from Koschinat, who never quite seemed to settle on a favoured formation. The first three games of the 42-year-old’s tenure have seen his charges set up in a 3-4-1-2 formation, but the former Sandhausen player may opt for something different given that his team have shipped nine goals in those three outings, possibly sitting deep and looking to counter against the favourites. Then again it hasn’t necessarily been the formation which has been at fault, a lack of concentration and individual errors resulting in the three goals conceded at the Hardtwaldstadion on Friday night against Fürth, which sees Sandhausen enter Tuesday night’s game one place above the relegation zone on eleven points.
A leaky defence and an attack that has failed to burst into life just yet is hardly a recipe for success but the team from just outside Heidelberg certainly have the wherewithal to cause opponents problems. Marquee summer signing Daniel Keita-Ruel has perhaps been the most impressive so far, and is SVS’ top scorer with five of their twelve league goals heading into Tuesday’s clash. Central attacking midfielder Julius Biada and striker Kevin Behrens had struck up a threatening attacking partnership by the end of last season, but the pair have struggled to get going just yet, contributing two assists and three goals respectively.
Momentum key for HSV in tight Christmas run-in
Daniel Thioune was well aware of the importance of Saturday’s victory over Darmstadt, but also that performances need to be improved if the Rothosen are to end the calendar year with two much-needed victories over Sandhausen and Karlsruhe next Monday. "It definitely wasn't the prettiest performance of the season,” the 46-year-old added at Sunday’s pre-match press conference, “but it was extremely important for us to get the win and secure the three points. The lads were rewarded for their performance." That battling performance saw Klaus Gjasula substituted off at half-time with a nose injury, and it is uncertain if the Albanian international will be available on Tuesday night, whilst Tom Mickel and Rick van Drongelen will definitely miss out. Midfielder Sonny Kittel is available as an additional attacking option after sitting out his one-match suspension on Saturday. With all of the teams around the Rothosen also winning at the weekend, HSV remain in fourth place on 20 points, but will hope to increase the pressure on those around them in the coming days.
The 2018/19 2. Bundesliga campaign was more successful for the Rothosen against Sandhausen, resulting in two victories, whilst last season saw a 1-1 draw in Baden-Württemberg and the infamous 5-1 loss at the Volksparkstadion on the last day of the season.
Simon Terodde’s brace in Darmstadt was his fifth of the season already. Only three players have secured as many braces by Matchday 11 in the 2. Bundesliga before; Terodde himself for Köln in 2018/19, and Emanuel Günther and the legendary Horst Hrubesch, both in the 1977/78 season.
Both teams are struggling defensively, especially compared to the same point last season. HSV have conceded 16 compared to 10 in 2019/20, for Sandhausen it’s even worse, with 10 more conceded than the 11 at the same stage last season.
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