Admittedly, this wasn’t the most eye-catching fixture of round 28 given that it pitted the team in 9th against the team in 7th. Neither of these sides will be relegated, and only Hamburg have a slender hope of reaching the Europa League. Nevertheless, they’ve both been good sources of news on and off the pitch in 2011 – Hamburg have been beaten by six and won by six in recent weeks, Hoffenheim have been hammered by Bayern but beat Dortmund, and neither side has stuck with the manager they started the season with. If tiredness was to play its part in proceedings, it was always going to affect Hamburg more, who saw 12 of their players called up for service in the recent international break. Yet although Hoffe’s training ground *only* saw ten players absent, it still managed to play host to a scrap between midfielder Sejad Salihović and defender Marvin Compper. Nevertheless, the only notable absentees at the Rhein-Neckar-Arena were José Paolo Guerrero, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Salihović, who all failed to make the pitch or bench. Continue reading
Matchday six in the Bundesliga, and the Saturday evening tie saw northern rivals Bremen and Hamburg square up.
Hamburg began the clash in seventh place on eight points, while Bremen found themselves in the division’s penultimate place on a mere three points.
Meanwhile, neither of these sides had impressed in the midweek round of fixtures, with Bremen humiliated at Hannover, and Hamburg brushed aside by Wolfsburg.
So perhaps the watching world shouldn’t have been too surprised by this match taking a while to get started. Both teams sought to give every man in the same colour shirt a touch of the ball, as each tried tempting the opposition out of position.
As patterns and pace finally emerged, the visitors looked more comfortable initially. Confident first-time passing moves were being strung together, often only thwarted at the final stage by Bremen’s snappy offside-trap.