One wish: Victory no matter what

On Saturday, February 1st at 15:30 CET, TSG host Hamburger SV in the WIRSOL Rhein-Neckar-Arena. Manager Markus Gisdol faced the media on Thursday afternoon in his pre-match press conference. The gaffer has just one wish for the weekend: “We want to win in the first home game of 2014, no matter what.”

Gisdol didn't reveal the personnel that he will be calling on to help make his wish come true. “We're certainly thinking about making one or two changes in the starting line-up,” he explained. Changes in the availability of players make that a strong possibility. Kevin Volland, who wasn't 100% last weekend, has trained with the team for the entire week and Sejad Salihovic, who recently hasn't been in the squad because of thigh problems, has been back on board since Tuesday afternoon.

Stefan Thesker will definitely not be involved (rehab following an ankle ligament tear). The game probably comes around too quickly for Fabian Johnson. The left back broke a bone in his hand in the game against Nürnberg and had surgery during the week. “We have to see whether playing him with a splint makes sense or whether he should wait until next week before rejoining the team,” said Gisdol.

Systematic analysis and hard work

It's clear what the coach expects from his team: “We don't need to do anything special on the pitch. We don't need magic football. We need the basics. That means good tackling and quick changing of momentum. That applies going forward as well as at the back.”

Gisdol has worked intensively with his team this week, but he has also spoken with them a lot too. One thing is important: A setback like the one in Nürnberg won't leave the manager reeling. “The coaching staff invest a great deal of thought into things and, like the team, we're ambitious. A setback doesn't lead to us questioning our path and our development. We work hard and we analyse clearly and systematically,” explained Gisdol.

Focus on our performance

Gisdol is demanding that “the team focus on their own performance even more so than usual” in the match against HSV. “The situation at Hamburg is only relevant for the 90 minutes on the pitch.” If the coach's charges implement his plan, there are just 90 intensive minutes separating Gisdol's dream from becoming reality.

Attacking midfielder Tarik Elyounoussi spoke the about the previous meeting between these two sides in an interview on Tuesday: “Markus Gisdol sent us into that game with a perfect plan and we were able to put it into practice,” he explained, referring to TSG's 5-1 away win against HSV on matchday 2. Tactical discipline and the basics are all Hoffenheim need for a home win.

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