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FIGHT AND PASSION THE KEY AGAINST BOTTOM SIDE DRESDEN

The good thing about a crowded fixture list is that you don't have much time to be angry about a defeat, like the one at Kiel on Monday night, before you have to turn your attention to the next game. Jos Luhukay's side thus aim to waste no time putting the Kiel defeat behind them by claiming their first win of 2020 at home to Dynamo Dresden on Friday evening (18:30 CET).

The first away win in more than 11 months may not have been in reach at Kiel, but in stoppage time a draw certainly was. But first Henk Veerman missed a penalty awarded for handball, and then Viktor Gyökeres was denied from a indirect free-kick in the goal area. The sense of frustration after the fifth away defeat in succession was palpable, but the Boys in Brown didn't have too long to dwell on it, as the next three points are up for grabs on Friday, and Jos Luhukay's side will be doing all they can to keep them in Hamburg.

Nürnberg, Hannover and Bochum all won last week to climb above the Boys in Brown, who slipped to 15th in the table, one point and one place ahead of the relegation play-off spot. Dynamo sit four points adrift of that same 16th place. They have languished in the drop zone since mid-October and have been bottom since late November. With two games to go before the winter break, the club reacted by replacing head coach Christian Fiel with Markus Kauczinski in early December after one game with Heiko Scholz in caretaker charge. The former FCSP boss did not get the start he was looking for, however, losing 3-0 on his debut at Osnabrück followed by a 2-0 reverse at Nürnberg.

In a bid to ward off the spectre of relegation, the Saxons brought in more than half a dozen players for the second part of the season. They drew courage from a 1-0 home win over Karlsruhe and a 0-0 draw at high-flying Heidenheim, but Kauczinski's side then suffered a setback, going down 3-2 at home against Darmstadt last time out – a game in which they had a late equaliser disallowed by VAR and a saw new recruit Simon Makienok sent off.

Dynamo aim to get back on track at the Millerntor, though the statistics speak against them. The Saxons haven't won on the road in over ten months, taking just three points from ten games in that time to leave them with the worst away record in the league. Added to that, Dresden have never won at the Millerntor. Two draws in the third tier were followed by four successive defeats in Bundesliga 2, though they have taken a point on each of their last two visits. Dynamo are now targeting at least a point, and preferably three, on Friday evening to get back in touch with the places above the drop zone.

The Boys in Brown will be going all out to prevent that to claim their first three-point haul after going three games without a win since the turn of the year. Luhukay's side may not have had much to shout about away from home since March, they have impressed in recent outings at the Millerntor. But after victories over Wehen Wiesbaden (3-1) and Arminia Bielefeld (3-0), another decent performance brought just a point in a 1-1 draw against Stuttgart.

In what is likely to be the last game under floodlights this season, the Boys in Brown are determined to secure their sixth home win on Friday evening. A freshly laid pitch will no doubt be conducive to cultured football, but it will be fight and passion that is needed to overcome the bottom side and leave the new turf victorious.

 

Photo: Witters

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