Hamburger SV vs. Schalke 04 / Bundesliga – This is also a duel between two disappointments, although it was not expected anymore from HSV to be close to the top of table, while Schalke should have been placed higher. The beginning of season was especially bad for both teams when they lost one match after another. HSV didn’t win in first 12 rounds, while Schalke had played better after first five defeats. Schalke is again in a bad series that includes four matches without triumphs, where only match at home with Freiburg in previous round had ended as draw. HSV was doing fine till previous round, when they played four matches without defeat, but then they lost in Mainz. Last season Schalke won both their head-to-head, by 3-2 at home and 1-0 in Hamburg. Begins: 20.12.2016 – 20:00 CET
HSV had finally played better several matches in a row but it couldn’t continue the positive series in previous round, despite taking the lead in the match against Mainz. They didn’t endure and the match ended as 3-1 victory for the home team, which ended HSV’s series of four matches without defeat. They first drew two times, and then they won two times in a row with a clean sheet. HSV had defeated Darmstad 2-0 in the derby of rear, while after that they won Augsburg 1-0 in front of their fans.
In that match midfielder Holtby was shown a red card and he couldn’t play in Mianz, just like stopper Djourou, which certainly weakened HSV. Coach Gisdol had made a good move when he gave chance to forward Wood who was scorer of the leading goal in Mainz, however, their defence was porous so it is good news that Djourou is back and will probably replace Spahic. Holtby cannot play this match too, so Gisdol will probably make no now changes in midfield and attack.
Probable lineups Hamburger SV: Mathenia – Diekmeier, Djourou, Jung, D. Santos – G. Sakai, Ostrzolek – N. Muller, Gregoritsch, Kostic – Wood
It can be said that Schalke is in new crisis as they linked four matches without victory. Out of those four they lost three where only defeat by Salzburg in the Europa League was painless. In the Bundesliga they were minimally defeated firstly by Leipzig and then by Bayer Leverkusen at home. On Saturday they played second match in a row in front of their fans and this time they faced Freiburg, whom they definitely had to win, however, they draw the match 1-1 which is far from satisfactory. It must be said that Schalke dominated but it was first to capitulate and by the end they had to chase backlog of one goal.
Coach Weinzierl is having plenty of trouble due to absence of important players. Two stoppers are out of action, Nastasic who is injured and Naldo who is suspended, while from before he cannot count on three forwards, Embolo, Huntelaar and di Santo. They have to improvise and midfielder Geis played against Freiburg, while they didn’t have classic striker, as Choupo-Moting also didn’t play. Young Reese unexpectedly got chance, who was with Konoplyanka Schalke’s most forward positioned player. Weinzierl has problems for this match too and we expect new changes in the starting line-up. Baba should play in midfield, while Avdijaj could play striker instead of Rees.
Probable lineups Schalke 04: Fahrmann – Howedes, Geis, Kehrer – Goretzka – Schopf, Baba – M. Meyer, Bentaleb – Avdijaj, Konoplyanka
Hamburger SV – Schalke 04 PICK
Both teams have problems, both with shape and absence of important players. It is hard to forecast a winner but it is evident that HSV has no problems to score lately, while Schalke’s forwards could play better in this match and score a goal too.
Pick: both teams score
Odds: 1.75 at bet365 (down to 1.65 can be played)