Pre match report
To Cologne in positive mood
On Friday night (25.08, 8.30 PM) HSV travel to the RheinEnergieSTADION where Cologne await them for a Bundesliga matchday 2 opener. After tasting success at home over FC Augsburg last weekend (1-0), the Rothosen are hoping for more of the same under the floodlights in the first away game of the new season.
The game in Cologne is quite special for one HSV player in particular. Central defender Mergim Mavraj played for Friday night’s hosts for over two years, making 93 appearances for them and of course would like nothing more than to put one over on his former team on matchday 2. He is something of a lucky charm for the Rothosen. Hamburg beat Cologne in the two games he previously played against his former club. Mavraj hopes to extend his 100% record after missing the opening game of the season with a stiff neck. The Rothosen travel to Cologne in positive mood which is always a good thing.
More stability away from home
Winning is good for every player. The effect of victory regardless of the quality of performance is hugely important”, knows Rothosen boss Markus Gisdol. The win over Augsburg came by way of a workmanlike performance. Nicolai Müller had fired the home side into an early lead only to serious injury himself during the goal celebration. The unlucky attacking midfielder shattered cruciate ligaments in his knee and underwent successful surgery on Monday in Hamburg. He will be out of action for seven months. His omission is a huge blow for Gisdol and his team: “The whole squad must step up to the mark to compensate that loss, especially those who have not had much game time recently.” Gisdol can choose his starting line-up from a full strength squad with the exception of Müller and Bjarne Thoelke.
That is a good thing for the Rothosen who only collected ten points on their travels last season and struck fear into the heart of nobody.
Cologne: HSV up next, Europa League on their minds
Cologne were in a similar situation – often fighting relegation until the last few years. Gisdol: “They have done superb work there in recent years and their success speaks for itself.” They finished last season in a superb fifth place which means Europa League football this term. On Friday afternoon they were drawn in a group featuring English Premier League side Arsenal, BATE Borisov and Red Star Belgrade. Before the draw Cologne coach Peter Stöger said: “It is not something we can just put to the back of our minds. We can’t wait to see who we will face.” He then added about the game against HSV: “They have made a positive start to their Bundesliga season whereas we lost our opening game.” Stöger hopes to welcome back striker Yuya Osako to his starting line-up after he recovered in time from an ankle problem. The only question mark is hanging over Konstantin Rausch, who recently suffered concussion.
Possible Cologne line-up: T. Horn - Klünter, Sörensen, Heintz, J. Horn - Lehmann, Hector - Risse, Bittencourt - Osako – Cordoba
Referee: Dr. Felix Brych (Munich)