Third consecutive win on offer as year ends in Karlsruhe
The last fixture before the Christmas break sees HSV travel to Baden-Württemberg to face Karlsruher SC on Monday night (kick-off 8:30pm CET).
A difficult year draws to a close on Monday night, as Hamburger SV look to cap off their return to form with a third consecutive win and end 2020 on a positive note. With results going their way as well as a 4-0 victory over Sandhausen at the Volksparkstadion on Tuesday night, the Rothosen have moved back into second place in the standings heading into the final 2. Bundesliga clash of the calendar year. The customary Christmas break is much curtailed due to the late start to the season, the league resuming again with the visit of Jahn Regensburg to the Volksparkstadion on the 3rd January, thus making it even more important to gather momentum, with less than two weeks to rest up over the festive period.
Focus on the hosts
Karlsruher SC are one of southern Germany’s traditional footballing heavyweights, duelling with local rivals VfB Stuttgart for hegemony in the state of Baden-Württemberg, particularly in the 1980s and ‘90s. The turn of the millennium has seen KSC more regularly inhabit the 3. Liga than the Bundesliga and the club has been under construction in more ways than one in the past few years, their traditional home at the Wildparkstadion currently undergoing extensive renovation, and Christian Eichner’s team only just avoiding relegation straight back down to the third tier on the last day of 2019/20 season. 38-year-old Eichner will be pleased with how his team have started their second season back in the second tier after a two-year absence, but in the traditionally unpredictable world of the 2. Bundesliga, KSC have seen runs in and out of form. Four consecutive wins had seen the Blue and Whites climb the table, but two defeats during the ‘Englische Woche’ to Düsseldorf (2-1) and away to Erzgebirge Aue (4-1) on Thursday give cause for concern going into Monday night. KSC sit in 10th positon on 16 points, one of six teams who sit within one point of each other.
Opposition scouting report
The Badeners took a while to get going in 2020/21, losing all three of their opening games without scoring. The picture has been rosier since then, winning five, drawing one and losing three. The positive run has particularly been spurred on by Philipp Hofmann, who predominantly plays as a lone striker in a 4-1-4-1 formation. A lot of the goalscoring burden falls on the 27-year-old, who has so far stepped up with six goals and three assists to lead KSC in both categories. Vice-captain Marvin Wanitzek is also one to watch, particularly at set-pieces, having already scored a sumptuous direct free-kick against Braunschweig on Matchday 8, as one of his three goals for the season.
Despite losing their most recent game to Aue 4-1, the scoreline was certainly harsh on Karlsruhe, who ultimately didn’t use a number of gilt-edged chances and were made to pay at the other end. Like the majority of teams in the league, Eichner has his team well-drilled when they are able to set up defensively, the trick being to try and win the ball in the midfield area and strike on the counter. Daniel Thioune may be looking at this as an attacking option, something his team did well in the opening weeks of the season but less so over the past month or so, struggling to get into any rhythm in an attacking sense.
Keep momentum going for shortened Christmas break
Whilst heading into the game, it may look like a mismatch of form given HSV scored four and Karlsruhe conceded four in their most recent match, this doesn’t reflect the whole picture. Daniel Thioune himself accepted that Tuesday’s 4-0 scoreline against Sandhausen at the Volksparkstadion flattered the hosts, but at the same time greeted his team’s efficiency, turning effectively four out of five good chances into goals and defending well under long spells of pressure from the guests. Heading into Matchday 13, the Rothosen are back into 2nd place on 23 points, two behind leaders Holstein Kiel and two in front of Greuther Fürth. The coaching staff once again have the benefit of an almost full squad to choose from, Tom Mickel and Rick van Drongelen the only long-term injury candidates. Stephan Ambrosius will also be missing in Baden-Württemberg with a bacterial infection.
HSV were brutally efficient against Sandhausen, scoring four goals from four shots on target on Rick Wulle's goal.
Simon Terodde secured his sixth brace in twelve games so far this season against Sandhausen. However, his record against Karlsruhe is (by his standards) below average, with two goals from nine 2. Liga games.
Including the two relegation play-off games in 2015, HSV is unbeaten against Karlsruhe in four games and won both encounters last season. The last KSC win against Hamburg was in August 2012 in the DFB Pokal, a 4-2 win at the Wildparkstadion.
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