Werder Bremen vs Hamburger SV Preview
The Nörd derby will feature two desperate teams trying to rebuild rather than two football giants this season.
Tim Wiese celebrated wildly with the fans. He had denied HSV in a shoot-out. HSV hadn’t only given their place to Werder in the DFB Pokal final; they had also given up a UEFA Cup final berth to them. In 2008-09, both these sides had satisfying seasons. Bremen was crowned Pokal winner and finished as finalists in the UEFA Cup. Their cup runs masked their rather poor Bundesliga campaign, in which they finished tenth.
HSV meanwhile was host to the first UEFA Europa League campaign. They unfortunately crashed out in the final hurdle, the semi-finals, to eventual finalists Fulham in 2010. This season neither HSV nor Bremen are involved in any other competition. They failed to clear the first hurdle in the DFB Pokal and did not qualify for Europe.
HSV was simply too poor for a victory against Karlsruher in the Pokal and Nürnberg in the league. Nürnberg deserved to win the game considering the number of saves Rene Adler was called on to make. HSV’s demise arguably started with what in hindsight should have been a masterstroke, the signing of Frank Arnesen as sporting director.
Arnesen was set to prove to the world that the Chelsea reserves he signed were good enough to make it in the Bundesliga. Unfortunately HSV almost ended up in the 2.Bundesliga. Thorsten Fink, their coach, looks out of ideas at this point. Marcell Jansen expressed his disappointment in the showings of his team-mates last week.
The new signings with the exception of Adler have already managed to disappoint. In a last ditch attempt to save themselves from what the press in HSV think is definite relegation, the club purchased Petr Jiracek and Milan Badelj. In truth, HSV doesn’t have the look of a Bundesliga side- confidence levels are admittedly lower than ever behind the scenes.
Their problems spread to every area on the pitch- their only competent defenders are Heiko Westermann and Jansen (when he is not used in midfield). Their midfield lacks a presence such as David Jarolim and their strikers simply cannot get a goal. Marcus Berg and Heung Min Son, both talented youngsters have fallen by the wayside.
Bremen on the other hand, on the basis of pre-season performances and their opening day performance, has built a competent enough team to at-least challenge the big boys if not defeat them. Dortmund for long spells found themselves pegged back in their own area in the opener. Bremen deserved a point in the eyes of many a fan. Had Nils Petersen not missed a glorious chance near the end, they would have secured one.
The loss to Münster in the cup was nonetheless rather disturbing. The back four simply looked too open. Bremen’s defending must improve for them to challenge for a European berth again. If they do manage to finish in the top six, they might switch sponsors. Their current ‘poultry’ sponsor has angered many of their fans.
In terms of the battle on the pitch, Bremen is seemingly the clear winner. Their players are more talented than the ones on board at HSV. Marko Arnautovic aided by a rejuvenated Aaron Hunt could spell disaster for the HSV back four. On the bench remain Niklas Füllkrug, Mehmet Ekici and Nils Petersen. Theodor Gebra Selassie has proved to be a good signing so far.
HSV will have to find a better solution than Per Skeljbred to manage their midfield. HSV is currently disjointed on and off the pitch. In pre-season, they looked poor as well. To be fair to HSV, they did gather a few chances against ‘Der Club’ last week. They hit the bar in the closing minutes as well.
Finally, in the golden jubilee of the Bundesliga, the club that has been part of every campaign is truly struggling to hold on to their ‘dinosaur’ status. Thorsten Fink will feel that there is possibly no better way for HSV to boost their confidence than to win in rival territory, in Bremen.
For a loss here could lead to further problems later in the season and perhaps second division derbies against St.Pauli sooner than expected…..