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Østigård ready for derby

Leo Østigård's first start for the club could hardly have gone any better. It came in first derby of the season, when the Norwegian made a perfect bow in a 2-0 win at the Millerntor. The centre-back is really looking forward to Saturday's return fixture against our local rivals and says he is "ready" for the game.

"It was a very special game in a mind-blowing atmosphere, of course," said Østigård, looking back to the reverse fixture against our local rivals. "I only found out I was playing about three hours before kick-off. It wasn't easy to stay calm, as it was the biggest game of my career to that point and I was really nervous, but I've got a few games under my belt now, so I'll be more relaxed going into the return."

There'll be nothing calm about Saturday's derby, however, which is sure to unfold in a cauldron of noise. Though the Boys in Brown will be backed by a raucous travelling support, they will be up against nearly 50,000 HSV fans. But rather than being a problem, that will provide Østigård with additional motivation. "I have respect for the big-game setting, but I'm not afraid of it," he said. "I like having so many people against me. It gives me extra motivation to perform to my best. There's no bigger league game. I'm not scared, I'm really looking forward to the derby. I feel it in my whole body. These are the games you want to play in as a footballer. I'm ready."

The 20-year-old added: "We'll give it all we've got and want to put on a really good performance for the fans. We want to play good football as a team, fight for every ball and won't shirk a single tackle in our bid to win the game."

Leo Østigård, seen here under challenge from Tim Leibold, won't shy away from any tackle.

Leo Østigård, seen here under challenge from Tim Leibold, won't shy away from any tackle.

Reflecting on a less than perfect start to the year for the Boys in Brown, with two draws and two defeats, Østigård said: "Anything can happen in games like these, so recent results don't count for much. It will come down to the form on the day, not the form of the last few weeks."

In view of the different positions in the table, the Norwegian doesn't believe the Boys in Brown are under more pressure. "It's the same for both teams. We need the points, HSV need the points," said Østigård before adding: "HSV lost the last derby. They're under pressure to win now. But we'll be giving our all to ensure Hamburg remains brown and white."


Photos: Witters