On Saturday, December 9th (kick-off 15:30 CET), VfL Wolfsburg face a tricky away game, when VfL head-coach Martin Schmidt takes his men to the home-force Hamburger SV. And the Wolves coach is well aware of the difficulty of the challenge awaiting his men. "Hamburg lost just one of their last four home games – and that was a 0-1 defeat to FC Bayern. They are more aggressive when they have their home fans behind them in the Volksparkstadion." We must be prepared for that," explained Schmidt at the pre-match press conference on Thursday.
"Good for our self-confidence"
The exceptional atmosphere and the recently good results were not the only elements noted by the VfL coach as he analysed the opponents: "The pictures from their 3-0 win over Hoffenheim are good to work with. The put their opponents under pressure high up the park and look to give you as little time as possible on the ball. We don’t want to over-inflate our opponents, but rather point out their special strengths." Statistically, the Wolves do have one particular advantage over their opponents, with VfL boasting the second-best quota of won challenges in the league, whilst HSV are decidedly further back in those rankings. "The values are really only slightly different. For the players the most important things are the significant challenges. That considered, we really should have won the game in Augsburg. The values are good for our self-confidence, but bad if we become conceited about them."
Next step: Away win!
Whilst Hmburg have impressed on their own turf in recent outings, the Wolves have tended to struggle away from home – last claiming an away victory in Frankfurt back on match-day 2. "We had tough away matches at Bayern, Leverkusen and Schalke. From such ties you can consider yourself quite satisfied with a point. With that in mind, I think the statistics are quite solid. The next step now for us is an away win," insisted Schmidt determinedly, adding: "It won’t be a beautiful game of football in Hamburg. We need to go there and display our willingness to battle for a result."
Tisserand and Itter doubtful
This Saturday, the VfL coach will be without the services of Ignacio Camacho and Jakub Blaszczykowski. "Both are progressing well in rehabilitation training," said Schmidt positively, as he went on to comment on the status of the recently injured Gian-Luca Itter and Marcel Tisserand: "They were both ill yesterday. Marcel will do some jogging today, but Luca has been struck down by bronchitis. This weekend could be tight for both of them." Otherwise, the coach has his complete squad available and he is confident he can find the right eleven to steal all three points away from Hamburg: "We always set out our stall to win. If we want the win, we will have to score goals, so we will be taking a courageous approach."