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There is always hope

The Boys in Brown head south to face FC Heidenheim on Saturday (kick-off: 1300 CET). Ewald Lienen's men may not make the journey as favourites, but they'll be doing everything they can to bring at least a point back to Hamburg with them.

That will be no easy task against a Heidenheim side who sit a creditable fourth in the table on 22 points, a total that surely earns them the title of this season's surprise package. The odds may appear to be against them, then, but that doesn't mean the Boys in Brown go to the Voith Arena simply to make up the numbers. Far from it! Lasse Sobiech and his team-mates are determined to reverse the downward trend and claim their second win of the season.

When asked what piece of the jigsaw was missing after the 1-0 defeat against Fortuna Düsseldorf, Sobiech and his colleague Bernd Nehrig were of the same opinion: a win, as simple as that. After seven games without one, three points would obviously be more than welcome. But football is not a request show, and so with that in mind Ewald Lienen's men have been fully focused in training to gain the best possible preparation for Saturday's game, after which they will hopefully be able to savour the sweet taste of victory in front of jubilant travelling fans.

Frank Schmidt will have something against that, of course. The Heidenheim coach, who has guided his team from the fifth-tier Oberliga to the upper reaches of the second division, is on a high. Direct, honest and straight to the point, Schmidt stands for hard-running, high-tempo football, a style of play his players have implemented almost to perfection this season. Operating from a solid defence, Schmidt's team are often content to let the opposition have the ball, only to overrun them on the break and strike in clinical fashion. It may not be the most spectacular tactic (Heidenheim have a goal difference of 17-10), but it has brought them a proud total of 22 points. Two defeats in the last three games have dampened the euphoria somewhat, however.

Yet none of that matters now. Regardless of the opposition in the remaining matches before Christmas, the Boys in Brown will fight. For every ball, every inch and every blade of glass. That much is certain. Along with more than 1,000 travelling fans, the players will do their utmost to break the spell in Heidenheim and launch their ascent up the table. "There is always hope", stencilled street artist Banksy onto a dirty London wall in 2007. Words that could have been written outside the Millerntor. Belief, love and hope are things we know about here.

Photo: Witters

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