Pre match report


Mission: Take something from Schalke clash

HSV are away at Schalke on Saturday afternoon desperate for points in the penultimate game of the Bundesliga season.

Veltins-Arena, Arenaring 1, 45891 Gelsenkirchen – is the address where there is so much at stake for the Rothosen on Saturday afternoon (13.05.17, 3.30 PM). That is where the Veltins-Arena is and where coach Markus Gisdol and his men will be fighting for their Bundesliga lives against old rivals Schalke. It is the first of two possible “cup finals” and the visitors need to take something home with them to move out of the relegation play off spot they currently occupy in the Bundesliga table.

Müller makes squad - Hunt out

HSV are second last in the Bundesliga away table having only taken nine points on their travels so far this season. That however counts for nothing on Saturday afternoon. Matchdays 33 and 34 of a Bundesliga season all kick off at the same time and are described by Rothosen boss Gisdol as “very special.” The coach told the media at the pre-match press conference in Hamburg on Thursday afternoon: “After the three previous losses our last game at home to Mainz was tension-filled but I think we came through it okay.“

The squad flew to Gelsenkirchen on Friday morning to prepare for the crucial clash. It somewhat shook up the usual scehdule. The players trained in Gelsenkirchen on the same afternoon. 6,000 travelling HSV faithful follow them there on Saturday to cheer the lads on one more time away from home at the Veltins-Arena which is expected to be packed.

Those fans could also be cheering on winger and top scorer Nicolai Müller who returns to the squad following a knee injury which had seen him miss six recent games. Creative midfielder Aaron Hunt however has been ruled out with a muscular injury. Also out are long term injured duo Rene Adler and Albin Ekdal. Central defender Mergim Mavraj is suspended for the game but had travelled with the squad to participate in final training before giving up his place to Gideon Jung. Former Schalke co-trainer Gisdol (2011 - 2012) was keeping his cards close to his chest with regard to his starting line-up hoping to surprise Schalke.

Schalke keen to impress

Schalke are currently five points behind the Europen spots and seven points above the drop zone in so-called no mans land, but Saturday’s game is still of huge importance to them. The tradition-steeped Ruhr Valley side have remained well behind expectations this season and of course want a top performance in their final home game of the season. It promises to be emotional too with Schalke giving official send offs to departing players Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Holger Badstuber, Dennis Aogo, Sascha Riether, Phil Neumann and Timon Wellenreuther.     

The Rothosen with their dismal away record meet Schalke who are unbeaten in six home games: “We were all gutted after the defeat in Freiburg and were very self-critical in the analysis after the game”, revealed Schalke coach Markus Weinzierl this week before adding: “We want a vastly improved performance agaionst HSV to if possible keep all three points in Gelsenkirchen and in doing so continue our good home form.” 

The 42 year old expects a tough battle on Saturday Weinzierl: “Hamburg have their backs to the wall and will fight for every blade of grass on the pitch in order to avoid relegation.” And they will have to, if they are to maintain their proud record of being the only Bundesliga club never to have been relegated from the German top flight and keep that dream alive ahead of the final game of the season at home to Niedersachsen rivals VfL Wolfsburg next week.

Possible line-ups:

Schalke: Fährmann - Coke, Höwedes, Nastasic, Kolasinac - Goretzka, Bentaleb - D. Caligiuri, M. Meyer - Huntelaar, G. Burgstaller

HSV (from): Mathenia, Mickel, Douglas, Behounek, Waldschmidt, Sakai, Gregoritsch, Ostrzolek, Jung, Walace, Janjicic, Lasogga, Müller, Wood, Kostic, Papadopoulos, Diekmeier, Jatta, Holtby

Referee: Markus Schmidt (Stuttgart)