Man City ‘v’ Hamburg - Preview

Just like in 1953, when Sir Edmund Hillary set out on his dramatic and ground-breaking expedition to conquer Mount Everest, Man City have a mountain to climb when they face Hamburg in the second leg of the quarter finals of the UEFA Cup. Already trailing 3 - 1 from the first tie, a week ago in the HSH Nordbank Arena, the Blues have it all to do as they attempt to advance to the semi finals, where they would, in all likelihood, face another German side, Werder Bremen. But before City can even contemplate the next stage, they must defeat Hamburg, managed by the former Tottenham boss Martin Jol, who have an excellent record in away European games, having won all five of their UEFA Cup games on the road this season.

Despite an early goal from Stephen Ireland last Thursday, Hamburg were thoroughly dominant, carving out numerous chances, and it was only the heroics of City goalkeeper Shay Given that gave the scoreline a tinge of respectability. The German side, courtesy of Joris Mathijsen, Piotr Trochowski and José Paolo Guerrero, netted three times, meaning that City must win 2 - 0 at Eastlands to progress. Alternatively, and this is where it becomes increasingly complicated, if Hamburg score just once, then three goals from the Blues will suffice to take us to penalties, a method previously employed successfully by City twice on their European adventures, whereas if the visitors net on a couple of occasions, the home team will face the highly improbable task of scoring five times to realise their dreams!


City must take inspiration from Hillary’s ascent of Mount Everest

Team News

Faced with a plethora of injuries, City manager Mark Hughes will surely take risks when naming his side for this match. Although the likes of Shaun Wright-Phillips, Wayne Bridge and Vincent Kompany are all doubtful, due to the undoubted importance of this fixture, Hughes will be sorely tempted to name these influential players in his side. One name who is definitely ruled out with injury is livewire striker Craig Bellamy who may miss the rest of the season. Both Valeri Bojinov and Nigel de Jong are ineligible, thus depriving the latter of that pair the opportunity to face his former club, so young forward Danny Sturridge may be handed another chance up front. If there was ever a time for Robinho, the Premier League’s most expensive player, to perform, then it is tonight, and with executive chairman Khaldoon Al-Mubarak in attendance, taking a watching brief on behalf of owner Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, there will be unprecedented levels of pressure on the Blues, and in particular Mark Hughes, to impress.

The visitors have a talented squad at their disposal, a couple of whom are known to English football fans. Cameroonian defender Timothée Atouba played for Tottenham eighteen times between 2004 - 2005, scoring one goal in that period, whilst Ivorian international Guy Demel was actually signed by Arsenal in 2000, but failed to make an appearance, citing homesickness as a factor for his move away from the Gunners. German under 21 international Jérôme Boateng (who, by the way, is a fantastic signing on Football Manager) returns for this game after being suspended for the previous match, and the Germans still possess that most lethal of players, a Brazilian defender, Alex Silva, who has represented his national side twice. Polish born midfielder Piotr Trochowski was outstanding in the first leg, as was Croatian forward Ivica Olic, who City must pay close attention to on Thursday.

My Team (4-1-4-1)

                                               Given

Zabaleta                  Dunne                   Onuoha                   Bridge

                                            Kompany

SWP                       Ireland                     Elano                    Robinho

                                           Sturridge

Subs: Hart, Richards, Garrido, Weiss, Petrov, Evans, Caicedo


Let’s hope that smile returns to Robinho’s face after he scores a dazzling hat-trick to lead City to victory (or maybe not … )

Key Battles

Micah Richards or Pablo Zabaleta ‘v’ Piotr Trochowski

Richards was quite simply awful against Fulham at the weekend, and if City are to have any chance of progressing, then he must be dropped immediately. However, Mark Hughes is seemingly a huge fan of the wannabee England defender and prefers him to Zabaleta in the right-back role. For me, the Argentinean would be my first choice, as he offers more attacking threat and is a more accomplished defender. Trochowski was man of the match in the first leg, and will need to be contained for City to advance. His set-piece delivery was exemplary and he tormented Richards will his pace and trickery.

Robinho ‘v’ Jérome Boateng

It’s now or never for Robinho. With such enormous consequences at stake, the Brazilian must deliver the goods, or else it is highly likely that City will depart from the competition. Boateng, whose marital status according to the Hamburg official club website is ‘Meeting Friends’, will return for this match after being suspended for the first leg. A solid defender who likes to get forward, one hopes that Robinho can force the Frenchman into concentrating on his defensive duties.

Daniel Sturridge ‘v’ Michael Gravgaard

In the absence of Benjani, Craig Bellamy, Jo, Darius Vassell and Valeri Bojinov, young academy product Sturridge will have the weight and expectations of City fans riding on his shoulders. It is imperative he holds the ball up well to bring the attacking midfielders into play, and with City hopefully playing with an attacking mindset, Sturridge should have ample opportunity to add to his goal tally. Gravgaard is a recent addition to the Hamburg squad, but has slotted in seamlessly alongside captain and first-leg goalscorer Joris Mathijsen.


Dutch defender Gravgaard will hope to limit the threat of Sturridge

Verdict: Man City 2 - 2 Hamburg

As much as I would like City to progress, I am predicting with my realistic, rather than optimistic, head on. Hamburg’s away form is wonderful, so City will face a fight on their hands just to keep a clean sheet, never mind score enough goals to advance. I think the Blues will score first through Stephen Ireland, with a Hamburg equaliser shortly afterwards courtesy of Ivica Olic. Desperate for another couple of goals, City will score one thanks to Robinho, but as the Blues push valiantly forward in the last ten minutes, Hamburg will break and Piotr Trochowski will complete the scoring to send the Germans through to the semi-finals.

24 Responses to “Man City ‘v’ Hamburg - Preview”

  1. I*T*P*L Says:

    The second leg previews are always difficult, as there’s not a lot you can say to expand on the first leg ones. Well done with it though and for the delivery as promised, one minute early even.

    “The visitors have a talented squad at their disposal, a couple of whom are known to English football fans. Cameroonian defender Timothée Atouba played for Tottenham eighteen times between 2004 - 2005, scoring one goal in that period, whilst Ivorian international Guy Demel was actually signed by Arsenal in 2000, but failed to make an appearance, citing homesickness as a factor for his move away from the Gunners. German under 21 international Jérôme Boateng (who, by the way, is a fantastic signing on Football Manager) returns for this game after being suspended for the previous match, and the Germans still possess that most lethal of players, a Brazilian defender, Alex Silva, who has represented his national side twice. Polish born midfielder Piotr Trochowski was outstanding in the first leg, as was Croatian forward Ivica Olic, who City must pay close attention to on Thursday.” - I particularly like this paragraph, very original!

    The beginning is very abstract, but it works. I like it.

    “if Hamburg score just once, then three goals from the Blues will suffice to take us to penalties” - is there no extra time at this stage?

  2. Steven Goran Erikkson Says:

    Thanks a bunch VJ,

    As you say, they (second leg previews) are particularly difficult, but I feel this is my best one yet (considering for the likes of Aalborg and Copenhagen, I basically copied and pasted).

    The paragraph you have pointed out has been tweaked slightly, with a couple of words changed and a new sentence added. For the first time ever, I have done 3 completely new key battles as well.

    Thanks for your compliment about the beginning. I’m quite fond of it, if I may say so myself.

    Yes, there will be extra-time if needed, but I was trying to say how if the score is 3 - 1 after extra-time, then we will have penalties. My mistake and it probably needs correcting, so thanks for pointing this out.

    Hope your Maths revision is going well.

  3. plattsy Says:

    As enjoyable a read as ever, Steven, really good. The bananas are coming back tonight! Apparently if you donate any money to some charity that’s collecting outside the ground you get a banana!
    My only disagreement is in your team selection - don’t risk SWP, who hasn’t been fantastic lately anyway, play Robbie on the right and get Petrov in the starting line-up; at least he can cross a football unlike most of our team.
    Prediction: City 2-0 Hamburg (let’s be positive), Robbie and Sturridge scoring

  4. Steven Goran Erikkson Says:

    Thanks Plattsy, aka nobody

    I thought you would like the opening Plattsy

    I’m taking a banana with me! It’s the same one I took to Wembley in 1999 against gillingham. Should be a cracking atmosphere, with the bananas, scarves and flags. Are you going?? I will look out for you/dad/twin/tony robinson!!

    How can you not play SWP??? Even if he’s only half-fit, this is our biggest game of the season and we’ve got to risk him!

  5. Pete Says:

    Good post. I think it would need city to produce a level of football that we haven’t seen yet from this group of players. I think it is in them though given the right motivation. By the way Here is a site I put together to watch the match live for free.
    http://www.coragh.com/tv

  6. Ched Evans I LOVE YOU! Says:

    ’so young forward Danny Sturridge’ CHED EVANS!

    I got my banana at Arsenal so will be bringing it tonight!

    ‘Richards was quite simply awful against Fulham at the weekend’ Stop berating him, he played well.

    ‘ is imperative he holds the ball up well to bring the attacking midfielders into play’ Something Ched does extremely well?

    Nice change from the first leg, I like it!

    My score prediction will be >>>

    Manchester City 3 - 2 HSV

    Goals to be scored by Ireland, Robinho, Evans, Olic and Trochowski

  7. Ched Evans I LOVE YOU! Says:

    No, SWP instead of Evans please!

  8. Ched Evans I LOVE YOU! Says:

    STEVEN, ZABA IS SUSPENDED IS HE NOT?!

  9. Steven Goran Erikkson Says:

    Nope, he, along with Richards, Kompany, Elano and Bellamy, is one booking away from a one match suspension.

  10. Steven Goran Erikkson Says:

    And by the way, stop copying all my scorers!

  11. kerrybhoy Says:

    Come on the Germans !

  12. Ched Evans I LOVE YOU! Says:

    I will change then, Petric for Olic Happy?

  13. Ched Evans I LOVE YOU! Says:

    Infact, 2-1 City, Ireland, Robinho and Trochowski

  14. Steven Goran Erikkson Says:

    I will be delighted with whatever score and scorers you eventually plump (stop thinking of Mikey) for. I’m guessing you will change again before kick-off, but any changes must be concluded at 6.44pm.

    I can wear lenses now as well!

  15. Ched Evans I LOVE YOU! Says:

    BUT YOU SUIT GLASSES???

  16. Ched Evans I LOVE YOU! Says:

    ”eventually plump (stop thinking of Mikey) for.” Funny if he was reading this!

  17. Ched Evans I LOVE YOU! Says:

    Final time….

    Manchester City 2 - 1 HSV

    Goals to be scored by Ireland, Robinho, and Trochowski

  18. Steven Goran Erikkson Says:

    Why thank you, but lenses are more convenient for sport.

    I damn well hope he’s not reading this!!

  19. Ched Evans I LOVE YOU! Says:

    NO WAIT! >>>

    Final time!

    Manchester City 3 - 1 HSV

    Goals to be scored by Ireland, Robinho, SWP and Olic

  20. Steven Goran Erikkson Says:

    FFS!!! DECIDE!!!!!!!!!

  21. Ched Evans I LOVE YOU! Says:

    Final time!

    Manchester City 3 - 1 HSV

    Goals to be scored by Ireland, Robinho, SWP and Olic

  22. plattsy Says:

    Oh God Caicedo’s starting…
    I didn’t get a ticket for tonight, it was sold out before I tried to get one.
    Yeah all the elder Platts’ will be there tonight! I did enjoy your opening as well - it made me smile!

  23. Steven Goran Erikkson Says:

    Points:

    Steven - 0
    Matt, Plattsy, Dan - 2

    Scores on the Doors:

    Steven - 93
    Matt - 76
    Plattsy - 85
    Dan - 78

  24. Ched Evans I LOVE YOU! Says:

    I can’t believe it, i was going to go for 2-1 as well

    Doing the ratings now…

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