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Opposition Form Report: Hamburg's Fortune Pushes Them Mid-Table

Hamburg crawl to safety (for now), Braunschweig overwhelmed against Kaiserslautern, and Shakhtar Donetsk conclude winter break friendlies.

Martin Rose/Getty Images


Hamburger SV (2-1) Hannover 96

1-0 HSV: Marcelo (OG 26')
2-0 HSV: Marcel Jansen (50')
2-1 H96: Artur Sobiech (66')

Hamburg's results the past four days have not been anything spectacular, but the six points have vaulted them into mid-table and has restored some lost confidence. The two goals they scored against Hannover were fortunate to say the least, masking other problems throughout the pitch. Their defense still cannot handle chances inside the penalty area, and they are poor assembling chances for the newly-returned Ivica Olić. One can guess Josef Zinnbauer will reign in his team behind the ball against Bayern, which will not work as well as it did the first time despite their form.

Hamburg XI (4-1-4-1): Drobný – Westermann, Djourou, Rajković, Ronny Marcos – Díaz – Müller, Stieber, van der Vaart, Jansen – Olić


Eintracht Braunschweig (0-2) 1. FC Kaiserslautern

This was Braunschweig's first match of the Rückrunde, and it sure looked like it. Torsten Lieberknechts' bread-and-butter personnel could not grab hold of the match like they did in the past. Kaiserslautern sealed off Braunschweig's buildup with pressing and numbers in the midfield, starving Ryu Seung-Woo and Håvard Nielsen from scoring chances. They also beat Marcel Correia and Ken Reichel badly on both goals. Braunschweig has three matches to find their footing before their trip south for the DFB-Pokal Achtelfinale, but the lack of Bundesliga talent is hindering them on both fronts.

Braunschweig XI (4-4-2): Gikiewicz – Kessel, Correia, Reichel, Hedenstadt – Korte (Omladić 69'), Theuerkauf, Boland, Zuck (Berggreen 69') – Ryu (Hochscheidt 50'), Nielsen

UEFA Champions League

Finishing up their winter break, Shakhtar Donetsk played their final round of friendlies in Spain. For the most part, Shakhtar manager Mircea Lucescu stuck with the same personnel, but he gave major minutes to some of his reserve players, most notably 21-year-old midfielder Fred. Against "lesser" sides, the positioning was a little more fluid; center forward Alex Teixeira helped build up the play in the back and center back Yaroslav Rakitsky tried to make a few key passes in the final third. One would expect any team to be passive on the goals they allow, but the worrysome aspect is how elementary it was to get in behind the back line, a troublesome wrinkle for a team about to face Arjen Robben, Thomas Müller, and Mario Götze. They have the next week and a half to train before hosting Bayern in the first leg of the Round of 16.

Friendly Scores

Shakhtar Donetsk (1-1) NK Dinamo Zagreb
UD Almería (1-3) Shakhtar Donetsk
Real Murcia (1-2) Shakhtar Donetsk
Shakhtar Donetsk (2-1) Aalborg BK

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