One more trip up north – for the last away game of 2013

TSG 1899 Hoffenheim must summon all their strength one last time in 2013. On Saturday at 15:30 CET, TSG's last game of the first half of the season is set to take place against Eintracht Braunschweig. A game that won't be easy, explained Markus Gisdol in the press conference on Thursday.

“We've put a few turbulent and difficult months behind us,” Gisdol explained. “That's our job. I'm expecting everyone to give it everything. That's the challenge for every single player. After that, it's holiday time.”

Gisdol has seen a continual development in his team. After all, they've taken the right lessons from the right situations. In Braunschweig, he's expecting a difficult game - a game that could be similar to the one in Augsburg in terms of the atmosphere and the opponents' strategy. That's exactly what Hoffenheim's manager is preparing his team for.

Last away trip of the year

Whether or not at the end of the club's football in 2013 there will be a clean sheet, is of secondary importance to Gisdol. “The most important thing is that we play our game, be attacking and take something with us.” Then and only then, will the final away trip of the year have been a success.

One thing Hoffenheim will not do is underestimate Braunschweig. “A team doesn't just beat Leverkusen and Wolfsburg. Torsten Lieberknecht has demanded a reaction from his team over the last few weeks so as to bring them closer to their fans at home. And it's exactly for that reason that Braunschweig will go above and beyond to win the game,” said Gisdol.

“Top players”

The manager paid compliment to his players in the last pre-match press conference of the year. “Our team is really a team,” Gisdol explained. “Working here with the lads is fantastic. I love the players. They are all top players.”

He can call on virtually all of these “top players” in Braunschweig. Only Stefan Thesker will be unavailable for the game due to his ankle injury. Tarik Elyounoussi is not injured, but in need of a rest and that's why he was sent on holiday on Monday by Gisdol. “Tarik has been playing since March. His battery is just nowhere near recharging at the moment,” said Gisdol. The Norwegian will use the time to rest so as to return in the new year full of energy.

Mask-man Grahl?

Niklas Süle (Achilles niggle) and Sebastian Rudy (adductors) returned to team training on Thursday. Whether or not they will be available for the game on the weekend will first be decided after the final training session on Friday.

Jens Grahl could become a masked goalkeeper. After his collision with Robert Lewandowski last week, the goalkeeper suffered a hairline fracture to his cheekbone. During the week he has been training with a special mask on.

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