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  • November 6, 2010
  • • 14:30
  • • Imtech Arena, Hamburg
  • Referee: G. Perl
  • • Attendance: 54162

Bundesliga Preview: Hamburg - Hoffenheim

Bundesliga Preview: Hamburg - Hoffenheim looks ahead to an exciting encounter between underachieving Hamburg and high-flying Hoffenheim.

Beware The (Literally) Wounded Tiger

There has only been one story in town if you're a HSV fan over the last few weeks and it revolves around the seemingly never-ending injury crisis engulfing the club. The ever expanding casualty list has stunted the progress of die Rothosen at the worst possible moment for three reasons. Firstly, they started reasonably well with Ruud van Nistelrooy in form before stuttering once neither Mladen Petric nor Paolo Guerrero came to terms with their role behind the Dutchman in Armin Veh's 4-2-3-1. Secondly, perennial favourites Bayern made their worst ever start and finally, Hamburg had no European distractions this season owing to their seventh-placed finish last term. Coach Veh is at a loss to explain the reasons for having so many players on the treatment table.

"This is absolutely not normal in any case. I don't know how one goes about analysing the situation. When we worked intensively in pre-season, we had not a single injury. Now the problems have come further on in the season. I can't understand it. It is difficult to pinpoint the reason but at the moment we're groping in the dark."

Last week's visit to then bottom side Koeln had been expected to herald a rejuvenation for die Rothosen but they went down 3-2 to the Milivoje Novakovic inspired Geissboecke. The major plus point was the quite outstanding debut goal in the Bundesliga from winger Heung-Min Son, who yesterday penned a contract extension. The Korean flicked the ball over the onrushing Miro Vardovic with his right foot before letting it drop and half-volleying with his left into the empty net. Few players have announced themselves on the Bundesliga stage with greater aplomb. A worrying sign was the poor performance from Heiko Westermann, normally one of the league's most reliable defenders. One thing is for sure, as Marcell Jansen has already made clear, should HSV come up short again, injuries will be no excuse.

Continuity Breeds Success In Sinsheim

"It is no coincidence that we are at the top."

The words of Hoffenheim midfielder Sebastian Rudy. And what a season it has been for him -
shipped out by Stuttgart as part of their suicidal transfer policy (and that's not hindsight speaking either) - he has now secured a spot in Ralf Rangnick's eleven who once again are occupying the upper echelons of the table after an excellent start to the season.

With ten points from their opening four games, including wins in the opening three encounters against title contenders Werder Bremen and Schalke 04, minds were cast back to their meteoric, if inevitably unsustainable rise to the top of the league two years ago. And once again this term, they suffered a blip, sparked off by Daniel van Buyten's last-gasp winner at the Rhein-Neckar Arena. However, they have recovered of late, putting in some highly impressive performances and were deeply unfortunate not to take all three points from the Signal-Iduna Park after Antonio Da Silva's controversial last-minute equaliser to secure a point for Borussia Dortmund.

There are many familiar faces in the Hoffenheim team, who have become synonymous with Dietmar Hopp's side during their maiden stint in Germany's top flight including Andreas Beck, Demba Ba and Sejad Salihovic. Coach Ralf Rangnick believes having such a settled squad is reaping rewards for Hoffe this season.

"It works to our advantage that the greater part of our team are playing together for a third season. There is never absolute stability in any squad but it does aid our development and should be maintained," Rangnick remarked.

Rangnick also evoked his side's excellent display in Dortmund and he hopes that will inspire a good performance and result tomorrow in the Imtech Arena.

"We know that Hamburg have come under pressure during the last few matches. If we can raise our game against them in front of their own fans, we have the chance to take at least a point, as we did in Dortmund."



Hamburg are almost in a contest with Bayern for the most number of injuries at the moment. Armin Veh is without (brace yourselves) Mladen Petric, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Frank Rost, Marcell Jansen, Collin Benjamin, Dennis Aogo, Dennis Diekmaier, Eljero Elia, Miroslav Stepanek, Tunay Torun and Romeo Castelen. Erik Maxim Choupo-Moting may get the nod to play in behind over Piotr Trochowski while Ze Roberto is forced to deputise at left-back.

Probable Starting XI: Drobny - Rincon, Westermann, Mathijsen, Ze Roberto - Jarolim, Kacar - Son, Trochowski, Pitroipa - Guerrero


Ralf Rangnick can call on just about everyone in his squad, with the sole exception of the injured Josip Simunic as the veteran centre-back has a heel injury. Sejad Salihovic returns from his one-game suspension while Luiz Gustavo looks set to continue at left-back. The only other contentious issue appears to be whether Boris Vukcevic will get the nod over Tobias Weis in the Hoffe midfield.

Probable Starting XI: Starke - Beck, Vorsah, Compper, Luiz Gustavo - Rudy - Weis, Salihovic - Sigurdsson - Mlapa, Ba

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Last Five Matches
Team News
Available Squads
1Jaroslav DrobnýGoalkeeper
20Guy DemelDefender
4Heiko WestermannDefender
-Joris MathijsenDefender
10Zé RobertoMidfielder
30Gojko KacarMidfielder
-David JarolimMidfielder
15Piotr TrochowskiMidfielder
7Jonathan PitroipaMidfielder
10Mladen PetricStriker
9Paolo GuerreroStriker
29Tom MickelGoalkeeper
-Muhamed BesicDefender
10Änis Ben-HatiraMidfielder
8Tomás Eduardo RincónMidfielder
-Robert TescheMidfielder
10Eric Maxim Choupo-MotingStriker
7Heung-Min SonStriker
1Daniel HaasGoalkeeper
2Andreas BeckDefender
25Isaac VorsahDefender
5Marvin CompperDefender
22Luiz GustavoMidfielder
17Tobias WeisMidfielder
6Sebastian RudyMidfielder
23Sejad SalihovicMidfielder
19Chinedu Ogbuke ObasiStriker
22Peniel Kokou MlapaStriker
19Demba BaStriker
13Jens GrahlGoalkeeper
26Andreas IbertsbergerDefender
-Christian EichnerDefender
37Manuel GuldeDefender
7Boris VukcevicMidfielder
22Gylfi SigurdssonMidfielder
9Vedad IbisevicStriker
Players to Watch
Heung-Min Son
Heung-Min Son
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 7
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
The 18-year old Korean burst onto the scene in competitive action last week with his maiden Bundesliga goal. He has pace to burn, an abundance of tricks and that youthful self-confidence, which makes him a joy to watch. Luiz Gustavo may have impressed as a makeshift left-back but he will have his work cut out when facing Son.
Gylfi Sigurdsson
Gylfi Sigurdsson
Position: Midfielder
Squad Number: 22
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
The Icelandic midfielder has made a superb impression since joining from Reading in the summer after he was spotted by Ralf Rangnick's son, who was studying in England. A threat from both open play and set-pieces, the Hamburg defence will need to be disciplined in and around the penalty box.

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