After a disappointing pre-season loss today to Bundesliga rivals Schalke, Armin Veh and Hamburg have their work cut out for them. After finishing in a rather unemphatic 7th place last season, Veh will be looking to take the club to Europa League qualification at minimum this season. By many fans, the appointment of Veh as Hamburg boss this summer was seen as a poor decision. He will have everything to prove to both Hamburg fans and the Hamburg board this season.
Experienced Dutch striker Ruud van Nistelrooy opened the scoring against Schalke today, and he will look to continue his goalscoring form throughout the season. The Dutch striker’s pedigree and class will make him one of the most feared forward players for opposition defenses, despite his age. Van Nistelrooy will look to lead the club’s scoring charts and upset the odds against some of the big boys.
Pacey Dutch winger Eljero Elia will also be pivotal to the HSV attack this season. His explosive acceleration and exciting dribbling abilities make him a nightmare for full-backs. He will continuously look to get in behind the opposition back-line, with the option of shooting, passing or crossing.
Hamburg have done a good job of stabilizing the rickety defense that cost them further success last season. They have signed German international Heiko Westermann, German starlet Dennis Diekmeier, and youngster Miroslav Stepanek has returned from loan. Their excellent attack is now combined with a sturdy back-line, and for this reason Hamburg may be pushing for a Europa League spot this season with relative comfort.
While Armin Veh has proven to be astute in transfer dealings, it will be another issue altogether to see how he tactically moulds this HSV side together. With so many seperate parts at Hamburg now, Veh will need to take control of the dressing room and employ a brand of football that will lead Hamburg to once again being able to compete for a Champions League first. This, though, may take a few seasons. A Europa League qualification spot and a good cup-run would certainly be appreciated by Hamburg fans.
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