Julian Nagelsmann on
... the opposition:
HSV are a very good team with good players. Yes, the table doesn’t lie and Hamburg only have two points, but they are definitely stronger than that you might presume when looking at the table. In no way will we underestimate Hamburg. Markus Gisdol has already made an impact there. You can already see from the games he’s been in charge which direction they are heading in. They press early, they defend high up the pitch and counter quickly, so this is what we are going to have to deal with. We have to bear in mind that their last few matches have not gone well for them partly due to red cards.
We will still be without Pirmin Schwegler. Otherwise every player is fit. I’ve not seen Eduardo Vargas personally because he didn’t get back from Chile until Thursday evening, although he also seems to be fit. We’ll see whether or not Mark Uth will be in the squad or the starting XI. He has been back in first-team training for one week now after being out for six weeks. We’ll see how he does on Friday and Saturday and then we will come to a decision.
... his team’s performances this season
I haven’t seen any arrogance or a laissez-faire attitude amongst the squad in the past two weeks. The boys always want to win and that is the case now. Mentally it is a new challenge for many players to be one of the front-running teams in the league. We want to show that we’re not a one-trick pony and to demonstrate that this is how we’ve been performing all season. That is a positive pressure to have, but it is still pressure. We need to keep our heads. When you look at where we started from, you have to say we’ve had a very good season so far.
... the international break
Our main focus in our regeneration work during the international break was keeping possession. We then concentrated on our build-up play in the second week.
Record between the teams:
TSG and HSV have faced each other 16 times in the Bundesliga. TSG have done marginally better when it comes to the results, with their seven wins one more than HSV’s six. The other three fixtures between the two sides ended in a stalemate. However Hoffenheim have had the upper hand in recent seasons, winning four of their last six fixtures against Hamburger SV, with only one of those ending in defeat for TSG. That came in the second half of the 2015/16 season as “Hoffe” were beaten 1-0 in what was the current HSV head coach Markus Gisdol’s last match as Hoffenheim coach.
Form of the opposition:
18th place, two points, four goals scored, six points behind 15th, one change in managers already... it is fair to say that Der Dino have not really got going this season. Having been hovering around the relegation places for two seasons (2013/14 and 2014/15) in a row, they had a season of stability last year as they leaped to a 10th place finish, providing the fans with some respite after a couple of years of nerves. But now HSV are back in a relegation battle having picked up their only two points against Ingolstadt and Gladbach. Three emphatic defeats then followed and they are on a poor run of form at the moment.
The key to success
The table speaks for itself. TSG are near the top of the table, where as Hamburg are right at the bottom. But nothing is won on paper. Julian Nagelsmann’s side must play against Hamburg with the same approach that has brought success in the last few matches i.e. desire, discipline, courage, enjoying their football and confidence. “We are in a position to pick up three points and that is our clear objective,” said Steven Zubar.