Felix Magath is one of the most experienced personalities in the Bundesliga; there is no doubt about that. As a former player and now as coach, he has experienced nearly everything German football has to offer – that is, apart from the relegation play-off, until now. Magath and his Hertha team will look to secure their place in the top flight with a two-legged clash against Hamburger SV, a club which regards our Aschaffenburg-born head coach as a legend. – he has been a player, manager and coach at HSV over a period of 16 years. The “Rothosen” will visit a sold-out Olympiastadion this Thursday night (20:30 CEST). “I’m looking forward to the experience, Even if our opponents are a special club for me, we have to keep that out of our heads. I’m only focussing on my tasks at hand and my current team,” said Magath in his press conference ahead of the first leg. The head coach’s experience also told him that special circumstances require special measures, which is why he has chosen to prepare his team for the final two matches of the campaign in Kienbaum, home of Germany’s Olympic and Paralympic training centre. “We want to benefit from the atmosphere around this legendary sporting venue. Countless champions have prepared for their competitions here, and that should rub off on our players,” explained Magath. Fredi Bobic underlined the importance of the two-legged tie against Tim Walter’s HSV: “The most important thing is that we stay in the league. It’s only about Hertha BSC,” emphasised our director of sport. All the latest from the pair is here at herthabsc.com.
Felix Magath and Fredi Bobic on...
... the mood in camp:
Felix Magath: We’ve put what happened behind us, and have looked at our situation objectively. The main thing is that we’ve developed positively since I took over here. You could see that two first-division clubs were facing each other when we played Dortmund. We want to see that quality twice more. There is no reason to go into these games with any nerves or in a bad mood – I’m looking forward to the experience.
Fredi Bobic: I’ve not been involved in a relegation play-off before, but you can really feel the tension. The lads have put last weekend behind them very quickly and are up for the challenge. I’m sure they’ll be able to hold up psychologically. The most important thing is that we stay in the league. It’s only about Hertha BSC.
... the training camp in Kienbaum:
Felix Magath: The impression I’ve got from training is that we are well prepared. We want to benefit from the atmosphere around this legendary sporting venue. Countless champions have prepared for their competitions here, and that should rub off on our players. This is the right place to work at the height of professionalism.
... the squad:
Felix Magath: It would be a loss if Marcel Lotka was unable to play, for sure. He’s been fantastic for us recently and has been a big support. We need to wait for some more test results to come back, though: if he can’t play, then Oliver Christensen will probably be in goal – he is ready. I also hoped that Santiago Ascacíbar wouldn’t be suspended. He’s been in the team ever since I arrived here, so it’s a shame that he’ll miss the first leg, but we have a lot of top-quality players available to replace him. His absence won’t change the way we play a whole lot.
... the opponents:
Felix Magath: Even if our opponents are a special club for me, we have to keep that out of our heads. I’m only focussing on my tasks at hand and my current team. We know that HSV have a very certain playing style under Tim Walter, which we’re preparing for. I’m expecting that we’ll be able to find the right solutions.