The final game of Matchday 30 in the 2. Bundesliga sees two northern rivals go head to head, with Hamburger SV hosting Holstein Kiel, who have been one of their bogey teams since coming down to the second tier.
The Red Shorts remain focused on their goal of promotion, and they are hoping that they have turned a corner after struggling for a first win since the season restarted. They can return to second with a win, after VfB Stuttgart’s draw on Sunday.
Kiel though are keen to win a third win in four against the former European champions – even if the man whose goals led them to their victories last season will be on the other side on Monday night.
Can Kinsombi hurt his former club?
Hamburg’s win over SV Wehen Wiesbaden was their first since March and provided a timely confidence boost with their promotion challenge appearing to come off the rails following the previous defeat to VfB Stuttgart. Nevertheless, the performance was hardly inspiring, but Dieter Hecking gave his men two days off afterwards and feels they are now refreshed ahead of this game.
The start of the victory last weekend was David Kinsombi, who has struggled to find his best form since joining from Kiel in the summer, hampered by a knee injury sustained last season. Hecking feels the midfielder “made a step forward” during the coronavirus break and “rewarded himself” by scoring the two goals Wiesbaden.
“During his time in Kiel, he already showed that he could play football and be dangerous in front of goal,” he continued, likely aware of the three goals he scored in two games against Hamburg for the Storks last season. Hecking will now be hoping he can dish out the same treatment for his former club here.
The other man to impress last Sunday was Julian Pollersbeck, surprisingly chosen in goal with Hecking feeling Daniel Heuer Fernandes was mentally worn out, and the former VfL Wolfsburg and Borussia Mönchengladbach coach was impressed, “considering that he had not played a competitive game for a long time.” Nevertheless, Heuer Fernandes is now “mentally fully there,” and Hecking was coy on who would play here. Local sources say a change would be “surprising” though.
Only Ewerton and Khaled Narey remain unavailable for the game here, with Gideon Jung and Jan Gyamerah set to return to the squad, the latter for the first time since September after a serious knee injury, although it had been a hip problem keeping him out in recent weeks. Jung could replacing Rick Van Drongolen or Timo Letschert who have struggled in recent weeks, whilst further changes are likely in attack.
Late goals a concern for Werner
Whilst the feeling isn’t necessary mutual, Kiel see Hamburg as one of the biggest local rivals, and they have caused them nothing but problems over the last couple of seasons. They laid down a marker with a famous 3-0 win in the opening game of last season at the Volksparkstadion, and won the return game as well, thanks to Kinsombi’s goals. Only a late Letschert equaliser earned ten-man Hamburg a point when they met earlier in the season.
That game was now over six months ago, which is why coach Ole Werner did not want to dwell on it at his pre-match press conference, saying there has been “too many changes within the two teams” for it to be particularly relevant.
He is more concerned about their current form. They have picked up just one win since the restart and have been particularly susceptible to late goals, including Sven Schipplock’s for Arminia Bielefeld last weekend, not to mention Letschert’s goal in November. “We clearly addressed these situations that have piled up with us,” he said. “A lesson must be in the phases of the game.”
Werner, the youngest coach in the league at 32 (and younger than Hamburg captain Aaron Hunt), will have seen his side drop to 12th in the table over the course of the weekend, and is determined to win again in Hamburg, especially as it take them above the magic 40-point mark that usually means safety. “Against HSV on Monday, it is important to be focused and consistent over the full 90 minutes.”
There remains a concern with Salih Özcan, on loan from 1. FC Köln, due to ongoing adductor complaints, whilst Janni Serra is still out. The forward, who has been linked with SC Freiburg, is recovering from thigh surgery and Werner is pessimistic about his chances of playing again this season. “It would be nice if Janni can play again this season, but I’m not expecting it at the moment,” he admitted.
Date: Monday 8th June 2020
Kick-Off: 20:30 CEST, 19:30 BST, 14:30 EDT
Watch: Sky Sport Bundesliga 1 (Germany and Austria), BT Sport 1 (UK and Republic of Ireland), Fox Sport Match Pass (USA)
As mentioned above, Hamburg were far from convincing against Wiesbaden, and despite all of their rivals dropping points over the weekend, another slip up against Kiel remains likely. Expect a repeat of the 1-1 draw in November.