Paderborn hoping to snap HSV unbeaten run at Volksparkstadion
SC Paderborn are the first visitors to the Volksparkstadion in the Rückrunde, as Hamburger SV put their eight-match unbeaten run on the line.
A busy week in the 2. Bundesliga draws to a close with the visit of SC Paderborn to the Volksparkstadion on Saturday afternoon (kick-off 1:00pm CET). The Rothosen defended their unbeaten run against Fortuna Düsseldorf with a goalless draw to start the Rückrunde on Tuesday night, but the team from Nordrhein-Westfalen are themselves without defeat in four games. The first match-up between the two sides in September was arguably the most entertaining game of the Hinrunde, a 2-0 HSV start turning into a 3-2 Paderborn lead by half-time, the Rothosen eventually turning the game on its head once more to win 4-3. Daniel Thioune thought at Friday’s pre-match press conference that it could turn into another goalfest: “Tomorrow it could be as exciting and full of goals as the first game between us in September."
Focus on the visitors
After an inconsistent start to the campaign, Steffan Baumgart’s Paderborn are coping well in their first season back in the second tier after being relegated in 2019/20 from the Bundesliga. After twelve matches, Paderborn had sunk as low as 13th position and were on a four-match winless streak, but have since turned it around somewhat, having only lost to Düsseldorf in their six previous outings. Heading into Matchday 19, Paderborn are without a doubt in the chasing pack in the midfield area of the 2. Bundesliga table, tied with two other teams in ninth position on 26 points, and could climb as high as sixth with a victory at the Volksparkstadion.
Opposition scouting report
The unbeaten run has been built on a more solid defence, at times sacrificing some attacking intent, the weaknesses in the Paderborn gameplan earlier in the season perhaps best exposed during the meeting between the two sides at the Benteler-Arena in September. SCP don’t score many, with seven goals in their last six games, but don’t concede many either, Leopold Zingerle having to retrieve the ball out of his net five times in the same time period. Recent games have seen Baumgart set up his side in a 4-1-4-1 formation, academy graduate Ron Schallenberg impressing in his first full season with the first team in the position just in front of the back four.
Schallenberg alongside attacking midfielder Julian Justvan and winger Chris Führich have brought a fresh energy and young axis to the team, all three 23 years old or under. Führich is in fact SCP’s top scorer with eight and Justvan the most prolific assister with four. Former Norwich man Dennis Srbeny is also not to be forgotten, holding the ball up well and punishing the opposition with the relatively few number of chances his teammates are able to create, having so far scored seven and assisted three. The defence seems more settled than the last match-up with the Rothosen, but HSV will be looking to go from back-to-front quickly, particularly with SCP liking to press high and early, breaking the press to create space to run into and create chances.
More threat on goal than against F95
Tuesday’s goalless stalemate in Düsseldorf was perhaps more satisfying than the scoreline suggested, the Rothosen particularly playing well in the first half against a high-quality opponent, the frustrating elements being the lack of shots on Florian Kastenmeier’s goal and the flat second-half performance. Bochum’s win at the Millerntor on Thursday evening means that the Rothosen’s lead at the top is cut back to one point, with 37 points from 18 games. Klaus Gjasula (knee) and Josha Vagnoman (ankle) are the only two long-term injury doubts for HSV, Jan Gyamerah slotting in at right-back on Tuesday night to make his comeback. Rick van Drongelen has been fully able to re-join training in the last two weeks, but is being protected by the coaching and medical staff to ease him back into competitive football, and won’t be available for this Saturday’s game.
In Düsseldorf, the Rothosen were held scoreless for only the second time this season, the first being the 1-0 home defeat by Hannover. However, 40 goals is the best tally in the league and the best for HSV since 1982/83.
Sven Michel was injured for the first part of the season but has shown his class in the past few weeks, involved in six goals in the last six league games, not including his brace against Union Berlin in the DFB Pokal.
Paderborn are in the top half of the table for the first time this season, and are seven points behind Kiel in third. The situation was similar when Paderborn steamrolled their way to promotion two seasons ago; at the same point of the season they only had two more points than they do now.
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