Bundesliga Week 3 Preview: Bayern v HSV

1 win, 1 loss – that’s Bayern’s Bundesliga season so far. Can they add a second win against Hamburg? If yes, a more convincing one than in Wolfsburg? Only time will tell but it helps to know what to expect from the new HSV, led by Frank Arnesen. Here’s the preview, including a guest appearance.

First a few thoughts from me: a win would be very important to stabilize the team early in the season. Hamburg will focus on defending (just like almost every other Bundesliga team) so the usual things will be the key: off-the-ball movement, rotation, midfield penetration – simply put, more unexpected moves are needed. Mario Gomez is still doubtful due to muscle problems, it’s a gamble to predict who would replace him (if I had to, I’d put money on Olic), all others (aside from Breno) are fit and ready to get three points.

Now I’m glad to present another guest writer. This time it’s HSV expert Ryan, the man behind the HSV Offside blog (you can and should follow him on Twitter). Let him tell you what the new HSV is about. Learn and laugh. Enjoy.

A Glimpse Into the Meat of the Team

An 8th place finish last season was one that flattered HSV’s usually dismal performances – many games that were won (especially after the first couple weeks of the season) were due to some random deflection off a defender, some goal post saves, or some other miracle. Really, an 11th or 12th place spot would have been more appropriate, but the other big Bundesliga teams decided to have even worse years than HSV did last year. Yay for Hamburg?

Either way, that team was built to “win-now”, with aging stars such as Ze Roberto, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Frank Rost, and Joris Mathijsen all collecting big pay checks at large numbered ages. After the disappointing season where nothing was won, newly appointed sporting director Frank Arnesen decided that a major shakeup was necessary – wages would be trimmed, the old would be replaced with youth, and the clashing egos would hopefully be quelled.

So, Ze Roberto, Van Nistelrooy, Rost, Mathijsen and high waged Piotr Trochowski all were sent packing to various clubs around the world, and a number of Arnesen’s favorite Chelsea youth players were brought in. The ones who will feature prominently in Hamburg’s season (and will probably start against FCB) this year are as follows:

Jeffery Bruma, CB: Considered to be the future of Dutch defense, as well as Chelsea’s (he’s on a two-year loan). Had his first start against Hertha Berlin last week, and looked overrun and even ballwatched at times. A real test for him this week, for certain.

Michael Mancienne, CB: Perhaps the future of English defense, though not thought of as highly as Bruma. However, is probably further along in his development right now. Excellent in the air, a good tackler, but has very little vision for getting in passing lanes.

Gohkan Töre, Winger/Attacker: He has been the most impressive of the Chelsea players so far. Will be playing up top in the striker role against FC Bayern, though he’s really more of an inverted left winger, and even plays a bit like a stockier and not quite as physically talented Arjen Robben. He’ll start down the side, cut in with a burst of pace and then either look for a long-range shot or look for a pass. He’s been quite good so far this year, even if he has little to show for it – someone to watch out for.

Per Skjelbred, Attacking Midfielder: No, he’s not from Chelsea – he’s from Rosenborg, a Norwegian outfit. However, he is seen as a sort of missing link to the HSV offense, who haven’t really had a true central attacking midfield for the past couple of seasons. He’s only played 45 minutes for HSV so far, but he’s got some pace to him and at least has the ideas of creativity in his blonde noggin. Doesn’t look to start in what seems to be an extremely defensive lineup for Hamburg on Saturday.

Well, what’s gone wrong this year? One thing is that the coach, Michael Oenning, has won ONE single Bundesliga match since taking over last season after Bayern’s 6-0 thrashing. One out of ten games… not a typo. The players still look somewhat confused about how to get past a back four, and more importantly look HORRIBLY disorganized on defense. That, and Drobny has been extremely shaky with his decision-making. The game against Hertha could have ended 5-2 (there were three posts hit), and the game against Dortmund could have ended somewhere in the same vicinity. Ribery, Robben and Müller could have a fun time slipping and sliding through this leaky back four.

But then, Michael Oenning has a thought: “Hey, self. You know, you’re not very good at organizing a defense. I know, shut up about it. So why not just stick eight defenders out there? Then they’ll never score, cus that;s like totally a lot of people! Wait… Eight people… is more than we usually have! That’s a great idea! I’m awesome.”

When this bit of ingenuity hit Oenning’s tracksuited body, he drew up a squad of:

Drobny – Diekmeier, Mancienne, Bruma, Aogo – Rincón, Westermann, Jarolim, Jansen – Son, Töre.

So out of these people (besides the strikers), Jansen might get forward some, Jarolim might try his luck here and there, and I guess Rincón, since he’s playing LM? He’s never played anything but CDM since I’ve been watching him, and he’s not super fast by any means. Seems more like he’s playing there to be a helping hand for Diekmeier/Mancienne against Ribery and Lahm.

So, fully expect HSV to park the bus. What Oenning is hoping for on offense is that he has two very dynamic strikers up top who can score from distance if given any amount of space – but with a revamped Bayern defense, this looks unlikely. What seems most likely is that Oenning is thinking that a 0-0 draw at Bayern would be a great result, and is swinging for the fences in an extremely conservative manner.

My prediction of this is that Bayern will control over 60% of possession, but will find it difficult to get around the huge parked bus. Late in the first half or early in the second, Bayern will get a goal, and then as the game begins to wind down, will snag another as HSV attempt to actually play offense (maybe the disappointing Elia will make an appearance). 2-0 Bayern. (Editor’s note: I’d take it.)

As for HSV as a team – there’s a lot of promise at the Imtech Arena. But HSV is made to break promises.

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