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Schultz before the derby: "Great games between evenly matched teams"

Head coach Timo Schultz fielded questions from the media on Wednesday morning at a news conference looking ahead to the cross-city derby at Hamburger SV.

Timo Schultz on...

...the sense of anticipation: "It's there, you can see it in the lads. No matter where you go, you're going to be asked about it, of course. It's a game you have to look forward to. I feel we're well prepared. The nerves are tingling and I'm looking forward to it."

...the personnel situation: "We're taking it a day at a time as far as Philipp Ziereis is concerned. At half-time at Darmstadt, he told us he had slight problems with the back of his thigh. If he can't train today, he won't be a candidate for the game. We've taken Christopher Avevor out for a few days to give his foot a bit of rest but he's fully available to play. James Lawrence is in his third week of training now, but he lacks match practice, of course. It's down to us to weigh up whether we feel he's ready or not."

...his derby record to date: "Without totting it all up, I think it's positive, though I have to say a lot of those games were against their second team. At youth level, I won more games than I lost, so I'm optimistic overall, which I always am when we play HSV. They're simply great games between two evenly matched teams. I always have a good feeling beforehand and this time is no different.

...the favourites: "To pick a favourite in a derby would be frivolous. We already know we're a good team and can be really awkward opponents for HSV. Our aim is to take the first points off the league leaders - and if possible all three. That's our prime objective for Friday evening."

...HSV's quality: "They have a very good squad, for sure. After five or six games, it's hard to say whether they're the best team at the moment. I think there'll be a group of four or five teams challenging at the top again. Nobody wins the league in October, though, it's usually March or April when you see who's going to last the pace. HSV are in that group but they're certainly not alone there."

...Daniel Thioune: "We've never faced each other before as coaches, this will be the first time. His work speaks for itself. He took charge of a third-division team in Osnabrück, who were among the also-rans. He then guided them to promotion and established them in the second division. His teams always play gutsy football, work hard and want to get forward. It's a sign of a good coach when you notice things like that. That's the case with him."

...his pre-match pep talk: "First of all, I don't think you need to give the players any extra motivation. They're already raring to go and can't wait to get out there. It's more a question of channelling the energy the right way."

...the fans: "I'm not going to beat about the bush - every game is different without fans, of course, especially a derby. A massive chunk of the derby is missing. The ultimate emotional spark might not even be possible at this time. Nevertheless, we'll try to leave everything on the pitch during the 90 minutes."

...the tactics: "HSV play a similar game to us. They're flexible and can operate with three or four at the back. We know their strengths, but we've also identified points where we believe we can get between them. It'll be a game between equals, also in terms of the way the teams play."

...HSV striker Simon Terodde: "We obviously know they have a goalscorer in their ranks who has quality in the box. We're not going to deal with that one against one, though. We have to come up with a plan to close Terodde down, but if we focus too much on one player, it'll free up space for others. They have too much quality in their ranks for that. We have a plan and we know they have good lads, but we have that every weekend. We've always come up with pretty good solutions so far."

...comeback qualities: "That's one of the main points I made to the team after the Darmstadt game. We've taken a huge step forward in coping with mistakes and mishaps. We were 2-0 down and going through a bad spell and yet the boys believed in themselves. It's good for a coach to know the team are so stable and believe in themselves, but it's also something the players have worked hard for. It's going in the right direction."


Photos: Witters