Markus Gisdol: "Want to start like we did against FCN"

On Saturday, August 17th, Hoffenheim will face HSV at 15:30 CET in Hamburg's Imtech Arena. TSG's recent form against the club from north Germany hasn't been great, losing both of last season's fixtures. On matchday 33 last year, Markus Gisdol's men suffered a 4-1 defeat. That is by no means a reason to wave a white flag come Saturday though. In fact, the aim is quite the opposite…

"We want to start against HSV the way we did against Nürnberg,” said manager Markus Gisdol in Thursday's press conference ahead of the game. “If we can match this type of performance, it would be a nice birthday present,” added Gisdol. Hoffenheim's manager will celebrate his 44th birthday on Saturday.

After their 3-3 draw with Schalke on the opening day of the season, Gisdol expects Hamburg to provide a tough task on the weekend, regardless of their inconsistent pre-season. “Hamburg are going into this season with different goals than us. For a club like HSV, aims like European football are the right ones to have. HSV had the chance to win against Schalke and maybe even should have,” said Gisdol.

Fully fit squad

Hoffenheim have a fully fit squad to choose from in Hamburg. Eugen Polanski, who couldn't join up with Poland in the recent international break due to a thigh tear, returned to team training on Thursday. Kevin Volland – who had a few knocks from the Nürnberg game – has also returned to training. Anthony Modeste has overcome his neck muscle injury. All of those involved in international football during the week have returned to Hoffenheim without any injury concerns.

Gisdol's focus in the press conference was once again on the passage against Nürnberg where his side went from 2-0 up to 2-2. “We didn't actually do that many things wrong,” he explained. “Our team matures through stages like that. We allowed the opposition to make mistakes. That's how development happens and we will take all the time needed for that.”

Hamburg cannot be given that much time on Saturday. “We can't let Hamburg patiently construct their game. That's one of the biggest strengths of their team and in that respect they are one of the best in the Bundesliga,” explained Gisdol. If TSG start like they did against Nürnberg, then the hosts will not have that time. And then Markus Gisdol may get the birthday present he asked for.

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