“We’ll accept the challenge”
In the press conference ahead of HSV’s second-division season opener against Holstein Kiel, head coach Christian Titz spoke about his side’s role as favourites, his expectations of the game and his excitement for the first match of the campaign.
It’s finally that time again. The end to a long pre-season is in sight, now it’s time to get serious. On Friday evening (20:15 CEST), HSV will host last year’s surprise package Holstein Kiel in the first match of the new 2. Bundesliga season. For Christian Titz, it will be his first full season at first-team level, and the coach knows a tough challenge faces his men right from the off. “We’re well prepared and will approach every game with the utmost concentration. I’m happy to get going again,” commented Titz ahead of the match.
The 47 year old spoke in detail about…
… the excitement for the start of the season: I’m looking forward to the season. We have almost six weeks of pre-season behind us and the lads have worked well. Now, in Holstein Kiel, we have our first test of stamina ahead of us. We want to come out on top and start the new campaign with a winning feeling.
… the euphoria in the club: It’s wonderful to see that we have such great fans. The increase in members and fan clubs, as well as the sold-out stadium on the first matchday - it’s all evidence for the enormous support that our fans show us. It also makes me proud. We have certainly been well advised to approach the game against Kiel as a very tough encounter. In the second division, you won’t win any games without applying yourself fully. I expect my players to be ready and accept the challenge.
… HSV’s role as favourites: I obviously can’t look into the heads of the players, but I definitely think that we’re all aware that expectations of us are enormously high. It’s completely normal that a team like HSV have been given the title of favourites in the second division. We will, however, think from game to game and our current focus is on the game against Holstein Kiel.
… what he expects of the game: I’m expecting an interesting game tomorrow. Kiel are no normal second-division team that sit deep and counter; they want to control the game themselves. We’ve watched our opponents intently and prepared ourselves for them. I think it’ll be an open game, they’ll demand a lot from us. For us, starting with a win is obviously important. Football is also a mind game to some extent – we can gain confidence with a win and that’s our goal.
… the weather conditions: The temperature will obviously play a role. The heat won’t be easy for either side, so we’ve prepared ourselves for it by training in the same temperatures and during the same time of day. The team is, therefore, in the right place to deal with it.
… what will happen with the young players: We have a very clear plan for the young players in our squad that will allow for the boys to experience the pressure to perform in training with the first team, while also getting game time with the U21s and U19s if they don’t get minutes with the senior side. That’s how we’re going to proceed in the future.