Hamburger SV vs Manchester City
UEFA Cup Quarter Final (First Leg)
Venue: HSH Norbank Arena, Germany
Date: 9 April 2009
Kick off: 7.45pm (BST)
Thursday’s game see’s our own Manchester City take on the Teutonic might of German team Hamburger SV. This is City’s first appearance in a UEFA Cup quarter final since 1979 and there are some rather forbidding omens surrounding the tie.
So, let’s start with the bad stuff and get it out of the way:
• In 1979, City were sent packing at this stage of the competition by another German side when we were dispatched from the competition by VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach 4-2 on aggregate.
• Martin Jol has never lost to Manchester City
• Nor has a Mark Hughes team ever defeated Jol
• Hamburger SV beat Aston Villa 3-1 on the way to this point in the competition (in December, ie. before O’Neill’s charges stopped trying to win in Europe, although it should be noted that Villa had already qualified for the next stage)
• This is obviously an away match and it would seem that we are incapable of even winning a raffle away from Eastlands
But, let us not be too downcast as there ARE also some positive signs:
• Jol has lost all three of his previous European ties against English opposition
• And Hamburg’s two most painful European defeats have both previously been to English teams
Who are ya?
So who are these meaty sounding opponents standing between God’s Own Team and their rightful place in the semi finals.
Hamburg lay a contested claim to being Germany’s oldest football team and who are actually the only team in Germany to have remained in the top flight continuously since the end of World War I.
The ‘Burgers are seven-times German domestic champions, and have won their domestic cup three times.
The club has enjoyed European success twice, winning the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1976-77 and the Big Cup in 1982-83.
HSV are currently sitting in second place in the Bundesliga after the weekend’s victory over Hoffenheim.
In terms of the comparative pedigree of their playing staff, the club had the following players involved on international duty for last week’s World Cup qualifiers: Joris Mathijsen (Netherlands), Piotr Trochowski and Marcell Jansen (Germany), Tomás Rincón (Venezuela) and Tunay Torun (Turkey) as well as a pair (Jerome Boateng and Dennis Aogo) on German U21 duty.
Most obviously Manchester City’s current squad contains two ex-Hamburgers in Vincent Kompany and the, unfortunately, cup tied Nigel de Jong.
However both club’s manager’s have experience of playing in the Bundesliga (Hughes and Jol both being ex Bayern Munich players).
The most fondly remembered link between both clubs, however, is Mighty Mouse himself, the magnificently permed Kevin Keegan who is a bona fide Hamburg legend and one of the few men to have landed the elusive post of MCFC manager.
caption: Paul Breitner and Keegan show Jo and Fellaini how it should be done
The bare bones
In the words of the lovely Harry Redknapp, that’s what it seems like we’re down to.
Firstly let’s deal with the ineligibles; Nigel de Jong, Valeri Bojinov (…and Jo). The first two are really big losses, the latter is just really quite big.
The real worry, however, is the fitness of Superman himself; Stevie Ireland is nursing a recurrence of the ankle injury he suffered against AB Aalborg and is rated as 50/50 to make the starting line-up.
Good news is the fact that Daniel Sturridge is obviously now fit enough to play some part and, obviously, he has some good form away in Germany after his impressive performance away against Schalke O4 in the group stages.
Ich habe kein players
Over in Hamburg injury worries also play on the mind of Martin Jol. His key Ivory Coast defender Guy Demel is definitely out for Thursday’s match.
Croation striker Mladen Petric has been struggling lately (unable to train with the ball last week) and missed the match against Hoffenheim at the weekend.
Crucially, key Brazilian defender is also looking likely to miss the match on Thursday, he is being treated for a torn thigh muscle and didn’t play any part in the weekend fixture.?
Injuries in the Hamburg back line should highlight the threat to the German side posed by our own Modern Mighty Mouse: Shaun Wright-Phillips. Shaun is looking in excellent form and is not one to go missing in key matches. In light of potentially missing Stephen Ireland and with Robinho still looking short of form his performance (and the quality of any contribution from Daniel Sturridge) will be key to City’s take away from Germany. The contributions of the steely core of City’s line-up (Given, Onuoha, Dunne and Zabaleta) will, however, be absolutely crucial.
The German side are obviously no slouches, even if the relative superiority of the Premiership is factored in, second place in the league at this late stage of the season is impressive form. They are known for the quality of their attacking play (and Jol’s previous side Spurs did also play some nice football under his management). They usually line up in either a 4-2-2-2 or 4-2-3-1 formation and (if fit) Petroipa, Petric and Jansen can all threaten.
Current shambolic away form should easily see City beaten in this one. If Ireland misses the match I fear that we would. However, I suspect Ireland will be on the pitch and City will fight and scrap to come back from 2-1 down to set up the most exciting match Eastlands will have ever hosted.
A massive thanks to www.mancityfans.net poster Ant London for this match preview. You can discuss this and other football and city related topics on our forum.