Rangnick demands improvement
"After the poor performance against Dortmund we've got to show our other side," demands trainer Ralf Rangnick. Rangnick identified in particular a lack of involvement and commitment as the causes of his side's defeat to Borussia Dortmund. "Dortmund did 13% more running that we did in midfield. So there's no point wondering what went wrong after the event," criticises Rangnick and continues, "The proportion of challenges won says it all, 65% versus 35%." Attacker Demba Ba, one of the stand out players for Hoffenheim last Saturday has a different view. "Playing good football isn't enough on it's own. We've got to win our challenges and be prepared to work a bit harder," said the man from Senegal.
Andreas Beck out with torn muscle
Ralf Rangnick also has a number of injury worries ahead of the top of the table clash in Hamburg. Andreas Beck is out having sustained a torn thigh muscle during training, while Carlos Eduardo and captain Per Nilsson are both doubtful. The Brazilian is currently out of action with muscle problems. Per Nilsson was also unable to complete training due to stomach problems. "We can't be sure that Per Nilsson will be in the squad," commented Rangnick. Andreas Ibertsberger is also not available. Added to that Maicosuel will miss the next two games having been sent off during the game against Dortmund.
Return of Petric and Elia
There are also question marks surrounding a number of Hannover players for HSV trainer Bruno Labbadia to deal with. While it is too soon for a return to action for Brazilian Ze Roberto, both Elia and Petric will be back in the squad. Petric celebrated his comeback after a two month absence on Wednesday during his side's Europa League tie with Rapid Wien. Labbadia must also do without Guerro, Benjamin, Alex Silva, Castelen and Reinhardt all of whom are out with long term injuries.
Home side with the upper hand
Hamburg have only faced Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga twice and on both occasions the home side have taken the points. 1899 Hoffenheim won the first meeting at the Carl-Benz stadium in Mannheim 3-0, with first half goals from Chinedu Obasi (2) and Vedad Ibisevic. In the return fixture Hamburg were victorious. Jonathan Pitroipa scored the only goal for the manager Martin Jol's side.