"We need to be at our highest level“
In the press conference ahead of tomorrow’s home game against Union Berlin, coach Hannes Wolf spoke about Pierre-Michel Lasogga’s fitness, what he expects from the game, and the quality of HSV’s opponents.
After the end of the final international break of the year, HSV host Union Berlin at the Volksparkstadion tomorrow evening, in what promises to be the top clash of Matchday 14. Coach Hannes Wolf is full of anticipation ahead of the encounter, which comes exactly 20 days after HSV beat Köln 1-0 at home, and he made this clear to the assembled press: “It’s now time to get going again. The break felt like the winter break, given that it lasted 16 days. We want to make the most of the opportunity we have tomorrow evening. It’s a special game against a very good team. We need to be at our highest level to win.”
The 37-year-old spoke in detail on…
…Pierre-Michel Lasogga’s fitness: Pierre was feeling his calf today in training and had to end the session prematurely. It’s nothing really bad, but time is of course short, what with the game taking place tomorrow. Therefore, we can’t currently say whether he’ll be fit tomorrow or not. There are two scenarios – either he doesn’t play at all, or he plays the full 90 minutes. He’ll only play if he’s fully fit and we manage to clear up the problem in his calf.
…what he expects from the game: We’ve recently put ourselves in a good position. It’s time to now get going again. The break felt like the winter break, given that it lasted 16 days. We want to make the most of the opportunity tomorrow evening. It’s a special game against a very good team. We also have something to prove and want to give everything in front of home support, using the self-confidence we’ve built up from our last few games. Then we can get our next three points and improve our position in the table.
…HSV’s opponents: Union Berlin are a top side, in terms of their individual, team and disciplinary performance. They will definitely play a part in what happens at the top of the table. I know their players very well – it’s a sort of ‘best of’ of the Bundesliga 2. The Berliners also have players like Schmiedebach and Hübner, and a lot of Bundesliga experience in their ranks. We need to be at our highest level to beat them.
…his connection with young players: We have the youngest squad in German professional football, and we have a lot of young players in the team. We’ve got to make sure that these players make appearances for the club. We can’t just always have them in the squad, sitting on the bench and never playing. For example, Manuel Wintzheimer is training very well and has now also received good feedback from playing for the national team. We’ve got to get the young lads on the pitch, so him playing for the seconds today isn’t a punishment, rather a chance for him to prove himself. We want to encourage our youth players and we enjoy working with them a lot.
…the reason behind Monday games: With every topic in life, there are always several perspectives. In this scenario, I’m happy that we’ve had longer after the international break to prepare those players who’ve come back for this game. For the fans and the people who are travelling to this game, having to make a long journey and then travel home late in the night is naturally restrictive. I can totally understand that it’s difficult for the fans, but we’re taking it as it comes. There’s definitely a unique selling point for us by having this game exclusively on a Monday night. German people watching football will be watching on tomorrow and that gives us a stage.
…Kyriakos Papadopoulos’ rehab: Considering the severity of his injury, he’s doing well. It’s nice that he’s back out on the pitch. However, there’s still some way to go. He’s progressed further than we had expected a few weeks ago, and the feedback from the medical team is positive.