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The second derby of the season is approaching fast. Ahead of Saturday's game at the Volkspark, head coach Jos Luhukay fielded questions from the Hamburg media, speaking about...

...Luca Zander and James Lawrence: "Luca took a knock in a challenge but is available to play. We don't have any concerns that something could change during the final two training sessions. James won't be in the squad, though. He did train with the team on Monday, but he needs a few more sesssions before he's a candidate for the squad again."

...his expectations for the game: "We can look forward to the derby. There's a lot of feeling among both sets of fans. Obviously, when all's said and done you want to put in a successful performance and go home happy. From our point of view, we'll need to give our all against one of the best sides in the league. Neither team will field the same eleven players who played at the Millerntor in September. HSV have made a strong start to the year and we haven't. In recent games, we've simply had too little reward in points terms to climb up the table, but Saturday is an opportunity for us to put all that to one side. We're concentrating and focusing solely on the game. We'll need a top performance to get a result and absolute passion and a winning mentality are the basis for that. We also need a plan, of course. Tactically, we put in a really good performance in the reverse fixture, as we have done against all the top teams. I hope that'll be the case again on Saturday."

...his derby experience: "I've been involved in lots of derbies over the years, including for Hertha against Union Berlin in front of 76,000 fans at our own ground in the second division and Borussia Mönchengladbach against Cologne. So much was said and written about those games in the week running up to them. They had a lot of passion and volatility in them. Local derbies are games where the table means nothing, games that are a law unto themselves, like the derby on Saturday. Obviously, we know HSV are a better team with more quality. There's no point in beating about the bush there, the table tells its own story, after all, but the 90 to 95 minutes give us another chance. We managed to take it in the first game and maybe we can do the same again on Saturday."

...a potential recipe for winning: "If I had one, we'd probably take all three points on Saturday. I think it will come down to the form on the day. You have to be mentally strong enough to let go of the pressure and the tension and then be able to pick it up again in certain phases of the game. I'm keen myself to see how my team will deal with that on Saturday."

...the potential for trouble off the pitch: "Obviously I hope it won't come to that and everything stays calm. We want to enjoy the football, it's meant to give us joy. Everyone in the ground will hopefully see a really good game and enjoy themselves. I hope that's how it will be on Saturday and football is the only thing we're left talking about after the game. I'm not the only one who lives football, everyone at the ground does, too. We want to see a good game of football, perhaps with only one winner."

...our local rivals: " They have a really good coach in Dieter Hecking and are one of the best teams in the league, with exceptional quality in depth. The players who come from the bench can be a significant factor, as we saw that last weekend when Joel Pohjanpalo came on and scored in the last second. Even though HSV are struggling with injuries, it doesn't diminish the quality of the first team much."

...the additional volatility due to the league placings: "It's an important game to win for both teams, but neither team will be thinking about the table on Saturday, though. They'll be focused on coming out of the game victorious. Having the mentality to do that is extremely important. We can look at the table again after the game, there's no point beforehand."

...the Hollywood aspect, looking to a potential first away win: "I'll be happy to talk to you about that after the game (he laughs). We can do ourselves a favour, of course. Three points would suit us down to the ground, especially as far the table is concerned. In the end it's down to us to determine and influence where we are after the game."


Photos: Eibner/Witters