JULIAN NAGELSMANN ON…
… the opposition:
Everyone knows the kind of football that HSV and Markus Gisdol like to play. They defend very aggressively, press and counterattack with pace. They always challenge for the second ball and put everything into their tackles. They also have a lot of strong wide players, even without Nicolai Müller, who are extremely quick going forward. We’ll need to defend well against that to stop that kind of situation occurring.
We have a couple of players who are carrying knocks. Nadiem Amiri and Kerem Demirbay both have problems with their calves. We’re still not sure with both of them whether or not they will be able to play. That will be something we will look at after training on Friday. Sebastian Rudy on the other hand is fully fit. We have an all-round good squad, both in terms of quality as well as quantity. I’m not going to start feeling anxious if we are missing one or two players.
… the sporting situation I:
In the reverse fixture against HSV, we were very strong in the first 25 minutes but we weren’t able to get that opening goal and couldn’t get a hold on the game in the final 30 minutes. Both teams have developed a lot since then. I’ve been in contact with Markus Gisdol this week and wrote to him. I told him that HSV’s stability has been very strong recently and have looked very good. It is the best HSV squad in quite a few years.
… the sporting situation II:
We are not taking anything easy after the Bayern game. The team loves to win, as does the coaching staff. We always want to get three points and enjoy that feeling of victory. It’s absolutely fantastic when you can come home on the bus singing. Putting our feet up and doing less work couldn’t be further away on our agenda. Why? Because winning is addictive. You always want to have it.
… the sporting situation III:
Of course the prospect of playing in a European competition has been in our heads for a long time. We need to serious plan for that because that would obviously have huge implications for the structure of the squad. Indeed the club as a whole would be affected, as would many procedures and areas of organization. You kind of get a feel for it in a week like this where you are playing on a Tuesday and then again on Saturday, or having three press conferences in quick succession.
RECORD BETWEEN THE TWO TEAMS:
TSG marginally have the upper hand in the record between the two teams. Hoffenheim have won seven of the 17 matches between the sides so far, whereas HSV have come out on top slightly less, six times to be exact. The reverse fixture ended 2-2. TSG have won twice in Hamburg, thrashing HSV 5-1 in 2013/14 and 3-1 last season. It was in fact Julian Nagelsmann’s first away victory as coach of Hoffenheim. Kramaric, Volland and Vargas got the goals.
HSV have picked up ten points from their last five games and 17 overall since the winter break. That puts them in fifth place in the post-winter league table. Former TSG coach Markus Gisdol’s team have improved their form hugely since the turn of the year and have battled their way up to 14th place. But the relegation place is still just one point away and the Hanseaten were defeated 3-0 Borussia Dortmund earlier in the week.
THE KEY BATTLE:
Hamburg play mainly with two different systems. You could even call them philosophies. Julian Nagelsmann and his team like to keep the ball and dominate the game. Markus Gisdol and HSV prefer to let the opposition keep the ball and then take the ball back aggressively, spending little time on it and trying to go forward as quickly as possible. And the numbers prove it. TSG have made 13,485 passes this season whereas HSV have made just 9,349. TSG have made 4907 challenges, whereas it is 5757 for HSV. TSG will need to play to their strengths to restrict HSV’s impact.