Manuel Veth –
Hamburg vs Darmstadt – Sunday, July 28, 12:30BST/13:30CEST – Volksparkstadion, Hamburg, Germany
For the second season in a row Hamburger SV will be a member of Bundesliga 2. Unrelegated until the spring of 2018 it was never supposed to come to this, the club, an institution in Northern Germany, was never supposed to go down let alone spend two years in the second division.
Two coaching changes and a squad simply not good enough, however, meant that Hamburg missed out on promotion after spending most of the season in the top three. Instead, Paderborn and Union Berlin went up. For Hamburg, in the meantime, promotion has not necessarily become easier because with Stuttgart and Hannover, two Bundesliga calibre teams were relegated at the end of last season.
For the new season, Hamburg hired head coach Dieter Hecking. Hecking guided Borussia Mönchengladbach into the top five but his playing style at times was to predictable last season. The 54-year-old is now facing his toughest challenge in trying to get a Hamburg side back into the Bundesliga that is by many seen as an outsider for promotion.
2. Liga starts tomorrow. It's traditionally terribly hard to predict, but some clubs in the North may join the White Walkers. pic.twitter.com/cNvUdBKZrb
— Goalimpact (@Goalimpact) July 25, 2019
Darmstadt, in the meantime, start the season with plenty of injury worries. The former Bundesliga club lost dribbler Braydon Manu to a complicated knee injury. Meanwhile, forwards Felix Platte and Erich Berko, both hamstring, will also miss the game against Hamburg.
Hence, head coach Dimitrios Grammozis will have to rely on his solid defence to get the job done against Hamburg. Furthermore, Grammozis has finally thrown Darmstadt’s kick and rush tactic into the bin and instead plays an attractive brand of football with a cultured buildup play from the back.
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With the injuries, however, many will expect Hamburg to win the game at home at the Volksparkstadion. But traditionally the away team has done better in clashes between the two sides, and Hamburg will need to adapt to new head coach Hecking.
Hamburg vs Darmstadt – Players to look out for:
Adrian Fein #29 – Hamburger SV
On loan from Bayern München, Adrian Fein is expected to become a key player in Dieter Hecking’s setup. The 20-year-old central midfielder spent last season on loan at Jahn Regensburg where he managed to gain much needed Bundesliga 2 experience. Able to play various positions in midfield but also in defence Fein is a typical allrounder, who despite his young age could take an important leadership role at the club.
Serdar Dursun #19 – SV Darmstadt 98
Darmstadt’s injury crisis in the attack means that special focus will be on forward Serdar Dursun. The 27-year-old is expected to start up front after scoring 11 goals and seven assists in 33 Bundesliga 2 games last season.
Hamburg vs Darmstadt – Match Stats
- The last five games between the two sides were always won by the visiting team.
- The two sides have met on 12 occasions overall, Hamburg’s record: W7 D2 L3.
- Hamburger SV head coach has faced Darmstadt five times and is still unbeaten (W3 D2).
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Hamburg vs Darmstadt – 1-1
Hamburg vs Darmstadt – Lineups
Heuer Fernandes – Gyamerah, Papadopolous, van Drongelen, Leibold – Dudziak, Fein, Hunt – Narey, Hinterseer, Jatta
Head Coach: Dieter Hecking
SV Darmstadt 98:
Schuhen – Herrmann, Dumic, Höhn, Holland – Palsson, Stark – Heller, Kempe, Mehlem – Dursun
Head Coach: Dimitrios Grammozis
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and among others contributes to Forbes.com and Pro Soccer USA. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which is available HERE. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.