Babbel not taking HSV lightly
Hoffenheim's opponents have spent much of the season among the groups of teams fighting to stay in the Bundesliga. They have taken four points from their last two games, but are still just two points off the relegation play-off place. TSG, on 37 points, are seemingly safe from the drop this season, but manager Markus Babbel was adamant that his side wouldn't underestimate their opponents. “We're playing a team with good individuals and a very dangerous attack. That means we have to try and stop them getting a foothold in the game”, said the 39-year-old at is pre-match press conference. Indeed, Babbel would do well to point out to his players how strong Hamburg have been away from home this term, with just five defeats on the road all season.
“We'll get our rewards”
As for his own team, Babbel expressed his satisfaction with how they have progressed in recent weeks. “The boys fight to the end in every game and that pleases me.” Hoffenheim have been criticised this campaign for failing to convert the chances they create, and for a lower points return than their performances have merited. But the coach believes that his squad is gradually turning that around. “In a lot of games, our approach has been too rushed and too erratic, and we haven't got the rewards for the amount of effort we've put in”, believes the coach. “We need to introduce a bit more calm into our play and be a little more clinical. Then we'll get our rewards. That is starting to happen for us now.” There have been murmurings that Hoffenheim could make a late push for Europe this season, but Babbel was quick to play down any suggestion of looking beyond the campaign's remaining games. “We simply have to take care of our own affairs. What might or might not happen at the end of the season doesn't interest us right now.”
Vorsah a doubt, Rudy back
There are unlikely to be too many changes in personnel for the Wednesday's game. Ghanaian defender Isaac Vorsah is a minor doubt after aggravating an adductor problem against Kaiserslautern, but Sebastian Rudy returns from suspension to give the manager more options in midfield. Croatian striker Srdjan Lakic made his first appearance in five weeks as a late substitute on Saturday and is in line to challenge Sven Schipplock, Roberto Firmino and Ryan Babel for a starting berth up front.
Hoffenheim's record in this fixture will give 1899's fans some confidence. They are yet to lose against HSV at home, winning two and drawing one of their three games since gaining promotion to the Bundesliga in 2008. Babbel is actually without a home victory since taking up the reins at TSG; will that record change on Wednesday night?