Manuel Veth –
Hamburg vs Leipzig – Tuesday, April 23, 19:45BST/20:45CEST – Volksparkstadion, Hamburg, Germany
It is a fine balance for Hamburg these days. Die Rothosen are in the middle of the Bundesliga 2 promotion battle where the advantage over third-place Paderborn has shrunken to just two points.
In fact, the 1-1 draw on the weekend against Erzgebirge Aue should be a warning that the promotion back to the Bundesliga is anything but a given. “Three points out of the last five games are not enough,” head coach Hannes Wolf said after the game against Aue.
Hamburg’s dramatic drop of form has been an issue for the entire second half of the season. Die Rothosen have collected just 16 points from 13 games in the Rückrunde. “We are struggling when it comes to creating chances,” captain Aaron Hunt explained after the game. As a result, promotion to the Bundesliga, from which the club was relegated for the first time in history last summer is now in jeopardy.
Hence, it is in the background of a minor crisis that Hamburg have the chance to reach the final of the DFB Pokal. “RB are always good, and at the moment they are excellent. But it would be wrong to give away this game; the league will have a priority once again on Wednesday,” Wolf explained.
That is a bit of an understatement. RB Leipzig have firmly established themselves as Germany’s third-best team in recent years and have played an excellent second half of the season.
“When you see how our boys have played on the road since Christmas, then you can be assured that we will travel with plenty of confidence to Hamburg,” RB Leipzig sporting director/interims-head coach Ralf Rangnick explained this week.
The Red Bulls have won eight out of eight games across all competitions since Christmas and want to keep their road winning streak going on Tuesday to reach the club’s first ever Cup final. “It would be amazing for the entire city and a once in a lifetime experience,” Kevin Kampl said this week.
In terms of Leipzig’s squad, only Tyler Adams and Dayot Upamecano will be out for the match. Although the American, in particular, has had a strong start in Leipzig he has not been missed in recent weeks as the Red Bulls are massive favourites to advance to the final in Berlin.
Hamburg vs Leipzig – Players to look out for:
Pierre-Michel Lasogga #10 – Hamburger SV
Pierre-Michel Lasogga’s lack of fitness has been one problem in Hamburg. In 26 games across all competitions, the striker has scored 19 goals and two assists for Hamburg. In fact, Lasogga has been at his best in the DFB Pokal where he scored six goals in just three games including two in the DFB Pokal quarterfinals against SC Paderborn.
Marcel Halstenberg #23 – RB Leipzig
Marcel Halstenberg was the man of the match against Gladbach. The left-back first earned RB Leipzig a penalty and then stepped up to score it himself in the first half. In the second half, he combined very well with Forsberg to score a fantastic goal to make it 2-0 in what turned out to be the eventual winner. The wing-back has been sensational at times this season scoring three goals and six assists in 25 games. Enough to convince Bundestrainer Joachim Löw to make the 27-year-old a significant part of Germany’s rebuild.
Hamburg vs Leipzig – Match Stats
- This is the first year that RB Leipzig have gone beyond the quarterfinals of the DFB Pokal.
- No team from Leipzig has reached the final of the DFB Pokal since VfB Leipzig won the competition (called Tschammerpokal at the time) in 1936.
- Hamburger SV last won this competition in 1987. In fact, it was the last time Hamburg have won any major title.
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Hamburg vs Leipzig – 0-3
Hamburg vs Leipzig – Lineups
Pollersbeck – Douglas Santos, van Drongelen, Lacroix, Sakai – Janjicic, Jung – Jatta, Holtby, Narey – Lasogga
Head Coach: Hannes Wolf
Gulacsi – Klostermann, Konaté, Klostermann – Halstenberg, Kampl, Laimer – Forsberg, Sabitzer – Werner, Poulsen
Head Coach: Ralf Rangnick
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.