"Revenge is bad advice in football,” said the manager assuredly. “We must have a clear mind and take the positives from our performances in the last three games.” That will make for a good game.
Gisdol doesn't want to put any proverbial oil on the derby fire. “This game is big enough that I don't need to say any special words beforehand,” said the Hoffenheim manager. TSG's starting eleven also remains unclear. “We had an intense game on Wednesday in the German Cup,” explained Gisdol. “That took a bit out of a few of the players and so the starting eleven could be a little different.”
Johnson & Abraham are ready
Fabian Johnson, who broke a bone in his hand in the opening game of the second half of the season, could feature in the starting XI. “He's trained with a splint in the last two weeks and has regained his confidence,” explained Gisdol. Stefan Thesker will continue to be absent due to an ankle injury, but there is hope on the horizon of the defender's long-term injury. He is expected to return to team training in the next few weeks.
Sebastian Rudy was involved in training, but won't be involved on the weekend due to suspension having picked up his fifth yellow card in Freiburg last time out. Although Gisdol will have an option fewer in midfield, he will have one more in defence. David Abraham has recovered from his adductor issue and is available for selection.
Focus on their own performance
Gisdol has admitted having difficulty in predicting his opponents this weekend. Stuttgart have lost their last five games, have yet to win in 2014 and will be without striker Vedad Ibisevic. “Preparing for the game isn't that easy as things could change in Stuttgart after their results in the last few weeks.” That's why it's all the more important for Hoffenheim to focus on themselves and their own performance ahead of the derby.
“This is a special game,” said Gisdol. “Both club's will do all they can to pick up the three points.” The manager expects a “passionate game.” A derby, but one that Hoffenheim will approach with a cool head and no revenge. That's the best way to secure a win…