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Last Saturday, director of sport Andreas Bornemann and head coach Timo Schultz spoke at length to the media for the final time in 2021. Among the topics discussed at the news conference were the first half of the season, the odd contract situation or two and…

…the mediocre away form:

Timo Schultz: "Maybe we need to give ourselves the lift away from home that the fans give us at the Millerntor. As coach I might have to sit down with the team committee and our sports psychologist and discuss what options there are. We have reversed a few trends away from home, however, so it's something that isn't occupying me too much."

…tactical problems when up against a back three/five:

Timo Schultz: "We have indeed come up against a back three quite often so far this season, but Nürnberg and Schalke played that way and it worked very well against them. The Heidenheim game is symbolic of this. We had problems in the first half but after the interval we then had answers against the same system. It's true that we have to adjust our patterns, especially in the way we attack the ball when defending. Against Kiel it just didn't work for us and it's definitely an area we need to improve."

…the term "oasis of well-being":

Timo Schultz: "I associate the term with something positive. Only if you feel good can you express yourself, perform at your best and play with freedom. With us it's the case that the lads like coming here because they feel at ease, but they like working hard as well. They're happy to stay behind and do extra shifts on the gym or stay outside for an individual session. The way I define an oasis of well-being is about the club providing optimum conditions for the lads. Breakfast and lunch, good strength and football training and everything that goes with it to then demand maximum effort and maximum involvement in return. That's how we do it here, and that's how the lads do it, too."

…Daniel-Kofi Kyereh and the Africa Cup:

Andreas Bornemann: "It's definitely the case that Kofi is in the squad, but I don't know whether the group will be reduced any further. It's highly likely he'll be involved, though, as he's been getting frequent playing time recently. We have to understand that anyone who's called up will obviously want to take part in this tournament, even though we have the cup game against Dortmund and the derby ahead of us."

Timo Schultz: "We'd be missing a player in that case and my job as coach would be to find a solution. Christopher Buchtmann has been champing at the bit but Lukas Daschner and Etienne Amenyido can also play in that position, or we could push Marcel Hartel up. We've been thinking about it and it would be an additional task if it turns out that Kofi isn't here in January."

…their plans for the festive period:

Timo Schultz: "We're staying in Hamburg and will keep things small. We might go to grandma and granddad's between Christmas and New Year, but we'll have to take the latest Covid situation into account, of course."

Andreas Bornemann: "In my case the decision will be made by the PCR test or the health authority. The original plan was to visit my parents at home in South Baden for two days."

…the players' plans:

Timo Schultz: "We've appealed to the lads and given them all a package with tests and information. We can't stop them from going to see their families, of course. A lot of them are choosing to stay in Hamburg and avoid any intercontinental travel. The lads are very conscientious. We've given them the option of having a booster jab but there are some players who want to have it done at their GPs. We have a good overview of the situation and the percentage rate is very good."


Photos: Witters