The one we’ve been waiting for. Other games this season have caught the eye in 2. Bundesliga, including the Hamburg derby, but few will disagree that this is the biggest clash in terms of pure club size. They share 94 Bundesliga meetings, nine championships and seven cup wins. However, on Monday evening, it will be the first time that HSV and 1. FC Köln face off in 2. Bundesliga. It’s been a difficult few weeks for Markus Anfang as coach of FC, as they sit three games without a win in 2. Bundesliga. That said, they remain top of the league on goal difference from Monday evening’s opponents even after a tricky spell.
While they were beaten by Schalke 04 in the DFB-Pokal second round on Wednesday, they were visibly better than the Bundesliga outfit and have reason to be cheerful. Penalties, both in normal time and in the shoot-out, proved to be the decisive factor between the two sides. It was a performance that promises more and was what was required coming into a big game like this. They’ll be hoping to continue what has been incredible away form this year, having claimed 13 points from their five away games. HSV have also taken 13 points from a possible 15 away from home.
Köln trying to get back to winning ways
On the other hand, HSV and Köln both have just 8 points to their name at home. Köln will be keen to take advantage of this while they can, and follow in the footsteps of Holstein Kiel (0:3) and Jahn Regensburg (0:5) to spoil Hannes Wolf’s first game at the Volksparkstadion.
FC can also lay claim to the best attack in the division, having scored two more than Paderborn after playing a game less. Anfang’s men have yet to draw a blank but come up against the side who have kept the most clean sheets in the league this season, with Julian Pollersbeck shutting out the opposition on seven occasions.
HSV hoping Hannes Wolf keeps on winning
As for HSV, Hannes Wolf has managed to remove any immediate criticism of his appointment by claiming back to back wins and clean sheets since taking charge. While he would have expected to get past both 1. FC Magdeburg and SV Wehen Wiesbaden, Wolf has the sacking of Christian Titz hanging over his head. The hugely popular manager was given the sack just two points from top.
However, while Magdeburg and Wehen have built up nicely to this game, this will be a real test of his credentials. As previously mentioned, home form has been a real concern for HSV and a positive result here will do Wolf the world of good going forward.
HSV will also hope to extend FC’s run without a clean sheet in the league to a sixth week, and it’s perhaps that which will give the hosts some hope to end their patchy home form. That said, HSV have only scored 13 goals this season – only Aue, Duisburg and Ingolstadt have scored less. In other words, something has to given between the side that keep the most clean sheets and the team that finds the back of the net the most.
The Billy Goats have earned the better of recent meetings with HSV and, going back to 2009-10, they’ve claimed victory in six of 14 meetings. HSV have claimed victory in four, with the remaining four ending all square. Lewis Holtby could be the key figure in this game, having scored an impressive six goals against Köln in 11 games.
Last season, the two teams traded wins in the opposition’s home ground. FC claimed a two-nil win in Hamburg just after Christmas, while HSV won at the Müngersdorfer Stadion on Matchday 3. Holtby struck in the 100th minute to make it 1:3 to the visitors.
Markus Anfang has no fresh fitness concerns ahead of the Monday night clash. While Vincent Koziello is back in training following his shoulder injury, this game will come a little too soon for the Frenchman. Otherwise, Lasse Sobiech and Christian Clemens are the only other absentees.
The question is largely over who leads the line. Jhon Cordoba was impressive against Schalke and gave them plenty to think about, though Simon Terodde’s bread and butter is 2. Bundesliga and he scored both goals as FC won at the Volksparkstadion last season.
HSV are expected to have Hwang Hee-chan back from injury after he missed their Pokal win over Wehen Wiesbaden. Jann-Fiete Arp’s performance on the left wasn’t particularly impressive, but Arp was on the left during final training and that could be an indication that the youngster will start.
The only certain absentee will be David Bates, who was sent off against Magdeburg. The Scot has been the lynchpin in the HSV backline and they have conceded just twice in the 829 minutes while on the pitch. Leo Lacroix was the man partnering Rick van Drongelen in the middle during training.
HSV (4-1-4-1): Pollersbeck; Sakai, Lacroix, van Drongelen, Douglas Santos; Mangala; Narey, Hunt, Holtby, Arp; Lasogga.
KOE (4-1-4-1): T. Horn; Schmitz, Meré, Czichos, Hector; Höger; Risse, Schaub, Özcan, Drexler; Terodde.
Referee: Christian Dingert (Lebecksmühle).