More of the same please!

HSV are currently enjoying a four game unbeaten run in the Bundesliga. The Rothosen are keen to extend the run on Saturday in Mainz. Hamburg coach Markus Gisdol has been forced to make two changes to his team for the matchday 15 clash.

Times are turbulent at HSV as the past few weeks have shown. On Sunday the club appointed a new board chairman, replacing Dietmar Beiersdorfer with Heribert Bruchhagen who was introduced to the media on Wednesday. So it is nice that the focus is now on the team as matchday 15 looms.

The new HSV boss Bruchhagen said this week: “It is important to focus on football again.” For that reason he will not attend the two final games of the year in order not to draw attention away from the team.

Top togetherness

Markus Gisdol has managed to gradually improve the team since taking charge at the Volksparkstadion. His side are unbeaten in four league games (2 wins and 2 draws) – a record only equalled by Frankfurt and Hoffenheim in Germany’s top flight, Gisdol has had the rare luxury of picking the same team for his last four games, but that will change on Saturday with former skipper Johan Djourou and midfielder Lewis Holtby both suspended for Saturday’s game (17.12.16, 3.30 PM): “We have managed to solely focus on football over recent weeks and we are on a good path”, Gisdol told the media at the official pre-match press conference in Hamburg on Thursday. He added: “I have always said that the team has progressed with regard to team unity. Now we want to give our all in the final two games before the winter break in order to finish the first half of the season as well as possible.”

It is expected that fit again Emir Spahic will play for Djourou in central defence while USA striker Bobby Wood could get the nod to replace Holtby, although Luca Waldschmidt and Aaron Hunt are also in the running for that midfield spot. Gisdol: “It will be a tough decision to make because they are all trraining well. But we will find a good solution.”

Mainz forced into changes too

Mainz 05 boss Trainer Martin Schmitt welcomes back key man Jhon Cordoba from suspension, but Jean-Philippe Gbamin is suspended for the second successive game for picking up four bookings in only two games. The midfielder was given his marching orders against Hertha BSC. He returned to face Mönchengladbach only to be sent off again. His place in the team could go to either Andre Ramalho or Fabian Frei.  

Mainz have suffered three straight losses for the first time under Martin Schmidt. They lost on their travels against Hertha and Gladbach and title favourites Bayern Munich at home. Mainz are good at pressing and are especially gritty at home Gisdol has warned: “Mainz is a high hurdle for us to take”, says the Rothosen boss who hopes that his team can bring the positive aspects from the previous four games to the table in Mainz.

HSV (from): Mathenia, Mickel, Diekmeier, Douglas Santos, Ekdal, Götz, Gregoritsch, Hunt, Jung, Kostic, Lasogga, N. Müller, Ostrzolek, Sakai, Spahic, Waldschmidt, Wood

Possible Mainz 05 line-up: Lössl - Donati, Bell, Hack, Bussmann - Latza, Ramalho - Jairo, Malli, De Blasis - Cordoba

Referee: Deniz Aytekin (Oberaspach)