Stani: “We simply have to perform”

Both TSG 1899 Hoffenheim and 1. FC Nürnberg were on the end of defeats last weekend, in which they failed to score. 1899 are without a win in their last nine away matches, having lost their last five. Their form has almost been mirrored by Nürnberg, their opponents this Saturday. Dieter Hecking's side have registered one win in their last ten league matches. Hoffenheim boss Holger Stanislawski was, however, adamant in Thursday's press conference that his team was ready to halt their current barren run by putting in a solid display at the easycredit Stadium: “We simply have to perform on Saturday.”

Stani spoke of the need for his side to be aggressive, strong in the tackle and switched on. “We have to be strong in Nürnberg. It will be a tough game, and we want to take something away with us from the game”, explained the manager. Last Saturday, Stanislawski, from Hamburg, was in attendance at the Imtech Arena in his native city to see this week's opponents Nürnberg take on Hamburger SV. “Nürnberg are a good side, and a strong side. And they have the same problem as us: they score too few goals.”

Firmino to return, Obasi misses out

In order to help rectify the club's problems up front – they have scored just four goals in the last eight league games – Roberto Firmino is likely to be brought back into the squad for the weekend. He, along with fellow forward Chinedu Obasi, was forced to train separately to the rest of the team last week and left out of the squad for last week's trip to Leverkusen after arriving late to training. “He has learned his lesson. He's trained well this week, and he'll be useful to us this week”, said Stanislawski to the press. Obasi would also have been due to return this weekend, but instead will be out of contention for the club's last three matches before the winter break commences. The Nigerian suffered bruising and ligament damage to his right ankle in training on Tuesday, but should be fit for the second half of the campaign in the new year.

Braafheid and Sigurdsson back in training

Stanislawski received better news regarding the fitness of left-back Edson Braafheid and midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson, both of whom were able to train with the first team today and are in contention for a place in the squad for Saturday. “We will be taking an 18-man squad to Nürnberg, and every one of them is chomping at the bit to be involved,” expressed the manager. Andreas Ibertsberger and Matthias Jaissle are the most high-profile absentees this weekend. Stanislawski remained tight-lipped on whether or not he would utilise Bosnian striker Vedad Ibisevic as a lone front man, or opt for rotating an attacking four.

Stats and Facts

Hoffenheim are the only team, apart from Rot-Weiss Essen, that 1. FC Nürnberg are yet to celebrate a Bundesliga win against, having lost two and draw two of the four fixtures they have played. The sides have also met once in the German Cup, a second-round tie in 2009-10 at Nürnberg, which the Sinsheim outfit won 0-1. Ironically, the goalscorer for Hoffenheim on that day was captain Per Nilsson, currently for playing for 1899's opponents on Saturday, 1. FC Nürnberg.

Match facts and statistics »

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