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LUHUKAY: "YOU ALWAYS GO INTO GAMES TO WIN"

The 2019-20 season ends with a trip to Wehen Wiesbaden on Sunday. At the pre-match news conference, head coach Jos Luhukay devoted plenty of time to answering questions from the Hamburg media, speaking about...

…the personnel situation: "Waldemar Sobota is serving a one-match ban. We'll decide who replaces him after the final training session on Saturday. Dimitrios Diamantakos came off with a calf injury last week and is definitely ruled out. Again, we'll decide tomorrow who comes in for him."

…the significance of the game: "All the teams want to end the season on a positive note and deliver the best-possible performance for the club and themselves. It's natural to want to go into your summer holiday with a good finish. We know our away record isn't good. We have an opportunity to win on our travels for the second time on Sunday and we'll be giving it our best shot."

…his approach to the game: "You always go into games to win them. What counts is that we function as a team. We've fallen to pieces after conceding recently and the gaps between the lines have been too big. We have to operate like we did against Regensburg and keep the space tight."

…Wehen Wiesbaden: "They have a miniscule chance of staying up. In general, every team wants to end the season with a good feeling, and I assume Wehen are no different. The reverse fixture was a tough game, but we came through it OK, especially with the goals coming in the final quarter of an hour. Manuel Schäffler scored a lovely goal that day but is suspended now. Wehen have put in some excellent displays this season and we'll be taking the game very seriously."

…a run-out for Korbinian Müller: "We'll make a decision tomorrow. We owe him a big debt of gratitude. He came back when Svend Brodersen injured his shoulder and his attitude has been exemplary ever since. He's worked extremely hard in training throughout."

…a run-out for Jan-Philipp Kalla: "I think Schnecke was really pleased to get a run-out against Regensburg at the Millerntor. The lads cheered him after the game. On Thursday he treated the team to a barbecue. I think a full Millerntor would be a worthy send-off for him and not, with all due respect, an empty ground at Wiesbaden."

…the progress made by the team: "We have a strategy and launched a process and it's been successful. I think older players like Daniel Buballa, Waldemar Sobota and Mats Møller Dæhli have progressed. The same goes for our younger players, such as Christian Conteh, who no one knew before the start of the season. Finn Ole Becker has come on superbly, and a number of academy players have gained some experience in the run-in. The overall impression is more positive than the table suggests. When the season's done, we need to take a sober and realistic look at the situation."

…the way the season's gone: "I raised lots of issues before the season started, some of which have materialised when you look at the table. In that respect, I'm not surprised and not so disappointed. We had some very good performances at home and our points tally at the Millerntor has been good. We stretched a lot of the league's top teams at the Millerntor, but there's been a big disparity between our home and away record this season. That's disappointing and often frustrating, as I told the team at the start of this week. There's the work for the new season if we're to get more points on our travels. Overall, we aren't missing much to be a few places higher up the table. We could have had more points. The games away from home after the Covid-19 shutdown were particularly annoying. You have to understand why we're where we are after this season. Here, I'm thinking about all the goals we've conceded from set pieces, for example."

…the loan players: "It hasn't been easy for the boys. They've come to a foreign country, couldn't speak the language, and had to integrate as soon as possible. Leo Østigård, in particular, has stood out in terms of the season. He started most of the games and has had a superb campaign for a 19-year-old. He identified with the club and the fans very quickly and improved with every game. Youba Diarra was unlucky with injuries and couldn't reach his level. James Lawrence made a great start with his goal against Kiel but was out with injury too often this season. Viktor Gyökeres made a significant contribution with his power, pace, and carefree approach. He's scored seven goals now. Matt Penney hasn't played so often but had a great moment with his goal in the derby against HSV. Overall, you can say the lads have all been of help in their own way. I also owe them my thanks."

…his assessment of himself: "I'm not perfect and have made mistakes. When you go over the season and analyse it, you obviously ask yourself what you could have done differently. Actually, you think about it after every game. Every coach enters a quiet period on Monday before going into the new season full of ambition and determined to have a better campaign."

…his future: "I haven't read the reports in the media, but I can't influence them in any case. I'm focusing on Sunday's game and we won't sit down until after it's done. I've been very open and direct throughout." 

…winning two derby games in one season: "That's not so important for me personally. I'm happy for my team and the players who were on the pitch in the two games. It was very good experience for the young players. And for our fans it was something incredibly special."

 

Photos: Witters

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