By Miloš Kovačević

When: 09:30 AM EST, Saturday, April 22nd, 2017

Where: Volksparkstadion, Hamburg, Germany

Betting Line: OFF

TV Coverage: Fox Soccer 2GO USA, Fox Soccer Plus, Fox Sports GO

 

On Saturday, Hamburger SV (9-6-14) will face Darmstadt 98 (5-3-21) in a match that could heavily influence the relegation battle. In December when two teams met in Darmstadt, HSV bested the hosts 0-2; Gregoritsch scored in the 30th minute assisted by Filip Kostic, however, in the following 60 minutes there were no goals seen since Hamburger SV sealed the victory in the last minute through Ostrzolek. Despite 15 points separate the two sides, the relegation derby could decide the faith of both HSV and Darmstadt 98.

The guests are in the last place with 18 points. The rock-bottom Darmstadt must win every remaining Bundesliga encounter in order to secure the survival in the German elite. HSV had back-to-back wins in the recent two months, but they are still near the dangerous zone since they are only one point away from the last three. The hosts collected only 33 points throughout the season, enough only for 14th place and the relegation race with famous German clubs such as VfL Wolfsburg, FSV Mainz 05 and FC Augsburg.

SV Darmstadt 98

After four-game losing streak, Darmstadt 98 stepped up on Sunday and beat FC Schalke 04. Assisted by Heller, Vrancic opened the scoring in the 11th minute for the home team; from that point, the Royal Blues took over control, but they were unable to find the net until the half-time whistle. The crucial point in the match was probably a penalty awarded to the guest in the second half, but Schalke’s forward Guido Burgstaller failed to convert. However, after fully recovering from a serious knee injury, ex-Sevilla captain Coke Andujar scored the equalizer for Schalke.

Fortunately for Darmstadt, unexperienced Thilo Kehrer picked up a direct red card the 81st minute. The injury time was three minutes, and the hosts were preparing a set piece in the last 60 seconds. After clumsy reaction from Schalke’s defense, Gondorf was in the right place at the right time as he placed the rebound in Fahrmann’s net, causing the crowd to explode at  Merck-Stadion am Bollenfalltor. Darmstadt are facing extremely difficult task – dropping a single point would relegate them. It’s a mission impossible for a team yet to earn a single point in Bundesliga visits this season. 

Hamburger SV

HSV were beaten in the Nordderby – the derby of North between SV Werder Bremen and Hamburger SV. In Bremen, Gregoritsch put his team up front in the 6th minute. However, Werder are currently one of the best Bundesliga teams, and they only proved it in the 41st and 71st minute, when Kruse and Kainz, respectively, scored a goal each for the whole prize and a huge step towards the Europa League spot.

In Bundesliga matches, HSV are yet to be defeated in home fixtures since 2016, when Borussia Dortmund beat them 2-5. Since then, they picked up 7 victories along with 2 draws. Currently, they are on the four-game winning streak at Volksparkstadion, indicating they earned the vast majority of points in home matches this season (24 out of 33).

Free Kicks

1. In 7 out of last 8 Bundesliga home matches, HSV were drawing at half-time, but winning at full-time.

2. Hamburg SV usually wins with a one goal margin at Volksparkstadion.  

3. Darmstadt 98 conceded at least two goals in 6 out of last 7 matches in the domestic league.

The Pick
The guests will be very motivated, but only a divine intervention could save them from relegation and HSV’s solid performances in Hamburg. If they concede a goal, they will certainly go all in since they have nothing to lose, so we might see several goals from both sides on Saturday.

Hamburger SV 3, Darmstadt 1

Bundesliga , soccer