Julian Nagelsmann on ...
... the opposition:
HSV are very difficult to play against and since the arrival of Bruna Labbadia the team has found some stability. We have to well prepared if we are to play well. We have a plan and we hope it falls into place on Saturday. Regardless of whether we’re at home or away - it will come down to us starting with the right mentality.
... the personnel:
Pirmin Schwegler is injured, aside from him everyone is available as things stand - we hope to be able to choose from a lot of players. As for Tobias Strobl, we’ll have to wait and see. If he copes well in training he’ll be an option. Whether players from the academy will be in the squad depends entirely on the situation at the time; whether it makes sense for us and helps us move forward.
... the current situation (1):
The game away to VfB was a blooper - a slipup, and we haven’t exactly been putting in startling performances so far. But we have worked on our mentality. We want to go out onto the pitch with smiles on our faces and enjoy our football. And if we win games, the table will look different - every win does something for your mentality. We have seen some changes already, but not quite as many as we would like.
... the current situation (2):
I’m still the happy man I was before. I know I have a fantastic job and on the way home in the car I laugh and think to myself ‘you’ve not got it so bad after all.’ But after I get the coaching bad, it’s important to me to achieve more. The break in the course is nice. Then I will finally be able to hang my certificate to the wall.
The record between the two teams is balanced. Both teams have left the pitch as winners on six occasions, with three games ending in a draw. The goal difference is clearly in Hoffenheim’s favour - 26:15, and this is largely down to three games against Hamburg: in April 2010, TSG won 5-1 at home, almost exactly 2 years later Hoffenheim ran riot once more with a 4-0 win, then in August 2013, the boys from the Rhein-Neckar-Arena humiliated Hamburg in their own back yard by five goals to one. To date, that is the only Hoffenheim victory in Hamburg. Number 2 wouldn’t go amiss on Saturday.
The opposition's form:
HSV have picked up eight points from the last six games, losing twice, winning twice and drawing twice. Noticeably more of Hamburg’s points are gained at home in the Volksparkstadion. The last home defeat for Hamburg came at the end of January courtesy of Bayern München. Since then: two draws and two wins.
Niklas Süle and Johan Djourou will most likely only be involved in direct combat from set pieces, but both are tremendously important to their respective teams. Both are the stabilising factor of their defensive lines, both are taller than 1.9 metres - machines built for playing at centre back. Both complete around 85% of their passes successfully, both have a similar pass percentage in the opposition half (almost 70). While Süle has won 62.9 per cent of his fifty-fifties, Djourou has won 64.8 per cent of his areal duels. On Saturday, it could very well come down to which of these defensive powerhouses keeps out the opposition more efficiently.