Friday, February 24, 2006 

Hamburg SV 2 - 0 FC Thun

Two first half goals by the HSV skipper Daniel van Buyten saw HSV move into round 4 of the UEFA Cup on Thursday evening, by way of a 2-0 victory over the Swiss first division side FC Thun in front of more than 40,000 in the AOL Arena. The only blot on HSV’s copy book, was the dismissal of midfielder David Jarolim late in the second half. HSV now plays the Romanian side Rapid Bucharest, who beat Bundesliga side Hertha 3-0 on aggregate in round 3.

Never change a winning team
After the 2-1 away win against Frankfurt in the Bundesliga at the weekend, HSV coach Thomas Doll saw no reason to change a winning team and fielded exactly the same side against the Swiss visitors Thun. Dutch master Rafael van der Vaart was on the bench at first after recovering from a broken bone in his foot. The visiting coach Hans Peischl made only one change to his side which beat HSV 1-0 in the first leg clash in Bern: In midfield, Vieira replaced Orman.

Thun needed time to recover from the early shock, but bravely tried to push players forward to attack HSV in their own half. The home side sat on their laurels for a while, and struggled during their build up play. That allowed Thun back into the game, but they couldn’t threaten the HSV goal.

Double whammy!
Nothing much happened for a while, and then HSV went further ahead on 33 minutes completely out of the blue. A Trochowski corner from the right was met by the head of van Buyten, who rose majestically above the Thun defence to superbly head the ball into the far corner, leaving the Thun keeper without a prayer. HSV began to dominate the game and although they were not fluent going forward, but the defence easily kept the visitors in check. HSV took a fully deserved two goal lead into the break with them.

Clever football
The home side began the second half in a concentrated mood. They didn’t make the mistake of sitting back on their two goal lead, but continued to play steadily forward. At long last, HSV’s combination game began to gel, especially over the right hand side where Mehdi Mahdavikia had a fine game.

van der Vaart at last!
On 53 minutes, Thun brought on the former HSV striker Eren Sen. Eleven minutes later, Thomas Doll brought on his Dutch international midfielder van der Vaart, who took to the field to thunderous applause as he replaced Trochwski who had played well. For the Dutch master, it was his first game since breaking a bone in his foot in November 2005.

The Bundesliga side controlled the game and their opponent, as Thun struggled to make an impression. HSV’s keeper Wächter hardly had a shot to save until the 74th minute, as Wicky put him under pressure with an awful back pass. Luckily for the home side, their 27 year old keeper was alert and cleared well before an onrushing Thun striker.

Sergej misses sitter
The final quarter of an hour was entertaining, as Thun threw everything forward in an effort to grab the solitary goal which would have seem them progress to the fourth round. HSV had the chance to counter attack, and Barbarez was guilty of missing a sitter on 77 minutes, as a superb cross from the left by Atouba was somehow missed by the Bosnian stood unmarked 3 metres out at the near post.

Jarolim sent off
There was more drama in the 82nd minute as HSV’s Czech-born midfielder David Jarolim was sent off for a second bookable offence.

Rapid Bucharest up next
HSV kept their cool and deservedly won 2-0. In the fourth round they face a tricky two leg clash against the Romanian first division side Rapid Bucharest, who put Bundesliga side Hertha out of the UEFA Cup on the same night as HSV went through against Thun. Earlier in the competiton, Rapid eliminated the Dutch giants Feyenoord Rotterdam, so Thomas Doll will warn his players.

Hamburger SV: Wächter - Mahdavikia, van Buyten, Boulahrouz, Atouba - Wicky, de Jong (86. Demel), Jarolim, Trochowski (64. van der Vaart) - Barbarez, Takahara (71. Lauth)

FC Thun: Jakupovic - Hodzic, Milicevic, Deumi Tchami, Duruz - Friedli, Leandro (53. Sen), Ferreira (84. Bernardi) - Aegerter - O.P. Faye, Adriano (77. Adriano)

Goals: 1-0 van Buyten (2.), 2-0 van Buyten (33.)


Wednesday, February 22, 2006 

Benfica 1 - 0 Liverpool (CL)

Defending champions Liverpool FC conceded their first UEFA Champions League goal since September as Luisão's header six minutes from time gave SL Benfica a narrow first-leg victory in their Round of 16 tie at the Estádio da Luz.

Late winner
The Brazilian defender nodded in Petit's 84th-minute free-kick as the home side's patient approach paid off in a match that had previously seen just one shot on target. Though the game was largely disappointing, the result sets the tie up for a fascinating second act at Anfield in two weeks' time.

Packed midfield
Benfica played five across the middle, with Nuno Gomes starting as a lone striker to counteract Liverpool's perceived strength in midfield, although Rafael Benítez sprung a surprise by leaving Steven Gerrard - nursing a dead leg - and Dietmar Hamann on the bench. Instead, the Liverpool manager opted for an attacking formation in which Robbie Fowler returned for his first UEFA Champions League start since 2001.

García booked
Benfica's vaunted eagle had barely vacated its perch when referee Konrad Plautz was called into action, booking Luis García for a late tackle on Léo - a rare moment of spark in the tepid early exchanges. The first attacking threat came after 14 minutes from a clever free-kick by Liverpool when Fowler's flick almost found Mohamed Sissoko, only for Benfica to step in and avert the danger. Fowler was again involved ten minutes later as Benfica failed to deal with John Arne Riise's long throw, before Luisão scrambled the ball clear at the expense of a corner.

Robert denied
The hosts finally came to life after 26 minutes when both their wingers combined on the left flank. Simão fed Laurent Robert but the Frenchman, well used to playing English teams after almost five seasons in the Premiership, was foiled by José Manuel Reina who raced quickly off his line to claim the ball. On the half-hour, Sissoko went off on a stretcher following a high challenge from Beto which earned the midfielder a yellow card, Hamann coming on.

Simão chance
Just as the first half was drawing to an appropriately low-key conclusion, Steve Finnan's foul presented Simão with a chance from a free-kick on the edge of the penalty area. The Portuguese international attempted to curl the ball into the top corner but only succeeded in firing it into the crowd to sum up a disappointing period. Luis García passed up the clearest opening of the match soon after the restart, although Benfica also adopted a more adventurous approach. Hamann picked up a booking as he stopped one Benfica foray in the 54th minute, 60 seconds before Luisão calmly dispossessed Luis García after the Spaniard had opted against an early shot.

Benfica threaten
Another of Benfica's dangerous dead-ball specialists, Petit, followed Simão in wasting a decent opportunity from a free-kick before coach Ronald Koeman replaced Beto with the more attack-minded Georgios Karagounis. Reina then twice had to be alert to deny Benfica - scrambling back to gather Petit's audacious 45-metre lob from under his crossbar before stealing the ball from Luisão after the defender was found unattended by Nuno Gomes's pinpoint pass. Liverpool responded by introducing Djibril Cissé for Fowler and his erstwhile strike partner Fernando Morientes headed over Riise's long throw after 66 minutes.

Gerrard on
Liverpool talisman Gerrard came on for Morientes with 13 minutes remaining but Benfica continued to take the game to the holders in the closing stages. Karagounis fired over with ten minutes left but chances remained at a premium until Luisão's timely intervention.

Benfica: Moretto, Alcides, Luisão, Anderson, Léo (Ricardo Rocha, 87), Petit, Beto (Karagounis, 58), Manuel Fernandes, Robert (Nelson, 77), Simão e Nuno Gomes.

Liverpool: Reina, Finnan, Hyypia, Carragher, Riise, Xabi Alonso, Sissoko (Hamann, 35), Kewell, Luis Garcia, Fowler (Cissé, 66) e Morientes (Gerrard, 78).

Goal: Luisão 84´


Monday, February 20, 2006 

Eintracht Frankfurt 1 - 2 Hamburg SV

HSV coach Thomas Doll was without the injured Stefan Beinlich, Ailton, Rafael van der Vaart and Bastian Reinhardt in Frankfurt. He made two changes to his side which lost 0-1 away to FC Thun in the UEFA Cup on Thursday: Naohiro Takahara replaced Beyy Lauth up front, while Khalid Boulahrouz (suspended for the Thun game) took the place of Guy Demel in the HSV starting line-up. Eintracht coach Friedhelm Funkel was able to choose from a full strength squad with the exception of Stefan Lexa who missed out because of a bout of flu.

Lucky home side
Eintracht Frankfurt is known for starting their Bundesliga games at a furious pace, and the game against HSV was no exception. Although the home side tried to get an early strike, it was HSV who had the large crowd going as Barbarez raced towards goal in 12 minutes only to be pulled back by Vasoski. Luckily for the home side referee Fleischer never saw the incident and waved play on. TV footage revealed that it should have really been a red card for the Frankfurt player. So Frankfurt remained at full strength and the game at 0-0, but only for a further 8 minutes.

Trochwoski puts HSV ahead
On 20 minutes, Barbarez broke down the right from where he crossed to Trochowski, who met the ball on the volley to gently push it past Nikolov in the Eintracht goal. HSV boosted by the lead began to dominate the game, without it must be said, creating clear cut chances in front of goal. HSV’s next chance came on 38 minutes as Atouba fired into the side netting from just inside the area. Four minutes later, a mix up in the HSV area allowed Meier to head home from close range. The ball took a wicked deflection off the shoulder of van Buyten before nestling in the back of Stefan Wächter’s goal to give the home side a fortunate equaliser. The score line remained at 1-1 at half time.

Captain fantastic!
Eintracht came out for the second half and tried to take the game to the visitors. It was HSV however, who struck on 52 minutes as Eintracht failed to clear a corner properly and the ball fell to the feet of Nigel de Jong, who passed to Trochowski who had cleverly sprung the Frankfurt offside trap. The young midfielder unselfishly passed square to his better positioned skipper van Buyten who pushed the ball home from some 8 metres out. A great start to the second half for HSV! Eintracht was in shock.

Solid defensive performance
The home side found it difficult to breach the well organised HSV defence, aside from a few wayward long range efforts, Boulahrouz van Buyten and co. never allowed them a sniff at goal. On 68 minutes though, the 2,000 or so travelling HSV fans held their collective breath for a moment as Wächter failed to punch clear a Copado cross. His defenders scrambled the ball away again in the end and the fans breathed easier again. Eleven minutes later, Copado headed towards goal, but this time he met his master in Wächter.

All out Eintracht attacks
The latter stages of the game saw the home side throw everything but the kitchen sink at HSV, who stood firm at the back, battling for each other and refusing to give an inch. Four minutes from tuime, Trochowski tried his luck with a long distance shot which missed the target. Just before the end, the Eintracht substitute Du-Ri Cha had a late chance ( as he did in the game at the AOL Arena between the two sides), this time though his header went well over the bar. The ref blew for time on a 2-1 HSV victory, their first of 2006 away from home. Because the Hamburg side was the better team for the first 60 minutes, they were well worth their hard earned victory.

HSV: Wächter - Mahdavikia, van Buyten, Boulahrouz, Atouba - Wicky, de Jong (73. Klingbeil), Jarolim, Trochowski (87.Laas) - Barbarez, Takahara (81.Lauth)

Eintracht Frankfurt: Nikolov - Chris, Preuß, Vasoski - P. Ochs, Huggel (69. Cha), Jones, Köhler (62. Reinhardt) - A. Meier - Amanatidis, Copado

Goals: 0-1 Trochowski (20.), 1-1 Meier (42.), 1-2 van Buyten (52.)



Vitesse 1- 3 PSV

It took blood, sweat and tears, but in the end PSV snatched a 1-3 win over Vitesse on Friday night. Jefferson Farfán was again outstanding and he scored a double for PSV.


Monday, February 13, 2006 

Livorno 2 - 0 Fiorentina

A brace by Lucarelli awarded the victory to Livorno in the Ardenza derby. The penalties were decisive: Amelia saved one on Toni towards the end of the first half. Lucarelli scored from the spot midway through the second half and doubled the score later on.

Goals: 22'sh (pen), 31'sh Lucarelli

Livorno: Amelia, Grandoni, Vargas, Galante, Balleri (40'sh Cesar Prates), Morrone, Passoni, De Ascentis, Coco (43'sh Pfertzel), Colucci (36'sh Ruotolo), Lucarelli. Coach Mazzone (Acerbis, Argilli, Pfertzel, Bakayoko, Palladino, Prates, Ruotolo)

Fiorentina: Lobont, Ujfalusi Kroldrup, Dainelli, Pasqual, Donadel, Fiore (1'sh Bojinov), Pazienza, Jimenez, Jorgensen (22'sh Pancaro), Toni. Coach Prandelli (Berti, Bojinov, Brivio, Montolivo, Pancaro, Di Loreto, Pazzini)


Pos. Team Pld Pts
1. Juventus 25 66
2. Inter 25 54
3. Milan 25 54
4. Fiorentina 25 50
5. Roma 25 48



PSV 1 - 0 Heracles

By scoring his fifteenth goal of the campaign, Jefferson Farfán made sure of a narrow 1-0 win for PSV. The Peruvian superbly curled home a free kick past Heracles keeper Pieckenhagen twenty minutes from final time.

Just like in this season’s reverse encounter in Almelo that ended in a 1-1 draw, Heracles turned out to be nasty opponents. The team, coached by Peter Bosz, played compactly and did not concede any space, so that PSV could not breech the wall of stubborn and sturdy defenders. Heracles threatened twice, but during the other minutes it was a one-sided affair and it was one-way traffic for almost the full ninety minutes. Farfán once again made his mark by magnificently firing home a free kick from some 20 yards out on 72 minutes. So PSV grabbed another three points from their fifth league game in thirteen days and the Eindhoven outfit stay on top of the Dutch table.

The pace of the game was low in the first half. PSV found it hard to create chances, as Heracles hardly showed any attacking ideas. PSV were allowed to take initiatives, but as they were given hardly any space, the team coached by Guus Hiddink created no clear cut chances. Heracles threatened once, when PSV keeper Gomes failed to control a ball from a corner, but Michael Reiziger was in the right place to clear the ball. On the stroke of half time Farfán, blasted a free kick over the crossbar and Farfán, again, got an opportunity, but Heracles stopper Pieckenhagen did well to deny him. Moments before Cocu had an effort blocked.

PSV realized they should up a gear to break down the Heracles defence and started more flowing moves after the interval. Afellay (shot) and Vennegoor of Hesselink (header) created dangerous moments. Yet the deadlock was not broken until the 72nd minute. Farfán superbly struck a 20-yarder and Pieckenhagen was well beaten. The Peruvian has now taken his season’s tally to fifteen goals. Heracles had earned a golden opportunity to pull off a shock result moments before, but Sota Hirayama blasted the ball wide off the goal, when he was on a one-to-one with Gomes.

Half an hour before final time Hiddink handed the young American Lee Nguyen his debut. He got standing ovations for a few fine solo runs and created an opportunity in the final stages. The game was marred by an injury that Heracles substitute Kwame Quansah sustained. He made an awkward fall, following an aerial clash and had to be stretchered off the pitch. It is hard to reveal the exact nature of his injury, but it looked serious, as his head and neck had to be held.

Goal: Farfan 72´


Pos. Team Pld Pts
1. PSV 24 60
2. AZ 24 55
3. Feyenoord 24 55
4. Heerenveen 24 40
5. Ajax 24 40



Hamburg SV 1- 0 Mainz

HSV returned to winning ways on Saturday afternoon (11.02.06) beating Mainz 1-0 in front of a 52,081 crowd in the AOL Arena. The only goal of the game was scored by HSV’s man of the match Mehdi Mahdavikia, who struck by way of a superb solo run on 6 minutes. HSV had the lions share of the play and deserved their 1-0 win over the side under coach Jürgen Klopp. The victory saw HSV overtake bitter rivals Werder Bremen in the Bundesliga table and move into second place, after Werder lost 0-2 at home to lowly Kaiserslautern.

Chopping and changing… HSV coach Thomas Doll had to do without several key players as Mainz came to town: Birthday boy Rafael van der Vaart (23 on Saturday 11.2 06) And Bastian Reinhardt have been out injured for an age, but both are back training again. Veteran midfielder Stefan Beinlich (Torn hip muscle) nd "Toni" Ailton, who underwent successful surgery on a broken jaw on Thursday also missed the round 21 Bundesliga clash. Visiting coach Jürgen Klopp also had selection headaches: First choice players Fabian Gerber, Petr Ruman and Conor Casey all missed the trip to Hamburg as did his first choice keeper Dimo Wache.

Benny back!
Dolly surprised many people in the AOL Arena by picking Benny Lauth ahead of Naohiro Takahara. According to the HSV coach, Lauth deserved his first team place by training well all week. Raphael Wicky replaced Beinlich in Doll’s starting line-up.

Mahdavikia gives HSV dream start
HSV fans didn’t have long to wait to celebrate the first goal, in fact, it came after only 6 minutes. New signing Nigel de Jong battled for the ball and won it in midfield, from where he sent the Iranian wing-wizard Mehdi Mahdavikia on his way towards the Mainz goal with the sweetest of through balls. The HSV crowd favourite had the huge crowd on their feet as he started a mazy solo run which saw him round several Mainz defenders, before blasting home a fine shot into the bottom right hand corner of the Mainz net to send the home crowd into raptures of joy.

Deserved half time lead
The opening goal calmed the HSV nerves, and the team began to play with more confidence. On 27 minutes, Lauth was denied by the Mainz keeper Wetklo. Jarolim and Barbarez had a double chance on the stroke of half time, but it wasn’t to be. Mainz had only one shot on goal during the first 45 minutes, so HSV took their deserved one goal lead with them into the half time break.

HSV defence superb
It was plain to see that the visiting coach Klopp had ordered his side to opt a more attacking approach during his half time team talk. They tried to obey his order but the HSV defence (especially captain Daniel van Buyten) was rock solid and hardly allowed the visitors a sniff at goal. On the hour mark, HSV had the chance to go further ahead, but David Jarolim was foiled by Wetklo after receiving a pass from Mahdavikia. Seven minutes later Benny Lauth missed a gilt-edged chance following a superb through ball by Barbarez. Lauth found himself running alone towards goal, but was stopped in the nick of time by a Mainz defender.

No penalty
On 67 minutes, the home side thought they had got a penalty as Lauth fell inside the Mainz area. But the referee just shook his head, much to the amazement of many of those present. Ten minutes later, the referee made a blatant mistake as he ruled that Takahara had fouled the Mainz keeper as they both went up for a ball following a Mahdavikia corner. In truthm the keeper spilled the ball which Taka duly dispatched into the back of the net for what was a perfectly good goal. It was to be the final chance of the game.

Frankfurt next!
Mainz fought bravely but could find no way through the rock-solid home defence. HSV fully deserved to win the match, and the fact that Werder lost 0-2 at home to lowly Kaiserslautern made the victory taste twice as good! HSV is now back in second place in the Bundesliga table and now face a tricky away trip to Eintracht Frankfurt on Sunday February 19th (kick off 5.30 pm).

HSV: Wächter - Mahdavikia, van Buyten, Boulahrouz, Atouba - Wicky, de Jong, Jarolim, Trochowski (77.Klingbeil) - Barbarez, Lauth (78.Takahara)

Mainz: Wetklo - Abel, Noveski, Friedrich, Weigelt - Pekovic, Addo (71.Geißler), da Silva - Zidan (65.Weiland) - Auer, Thurk

Goals: 1:0 Mahdavikia (6.)



Pos. Team Pld Pts
1. Bayern Munchen 21 54
2. Hamburg 21 44
3. Bremen 21 43
4. Schalke 21 39
5. Hertha 21 30

Friday, February 10, 2006 

Hamburg waiting for Van der Vaart

Hamburger SV are hungry for Rafael van der Vaart to return after stumbling to two away defeats in their first three Bundesliga matches of 2006.

Broken ankle
The Dutch international playmaker has resumed training after recovering from a broken ankle and has set his sights on featuring in the 4 March trip to FC Bayern München as third-placed Hamburg look to secure a place in next season's UEFA Champions League. "That's my aim," he said. The Hamburg coach Thomas Doll knows his side are a different proposition when the former AFC Ajax star plays - Hamburg have taken 34 points from 15 games with him compared to seven from five since his injury - despite the sterling efforts of German Under-21 international Piotr Trochowski.

'Top player'
"He is a top player, a true jewel, and we really need him," Doll said. With Van der Vaart fit and firing, Hamburg negotiated the UEFA Intertoto Cup and progressed to the last 32 of the UEFA Cup where they will face FC Thun of Switzerland over two legs on 16 and 23 February. They have taken just three points from nine in 2006, however, with Wednesday night's 2-1 loss at Hannover 96 prompting stern words from their coach. "Hopefully we will wake up again soon," Doll said. "We must work more intensively. In the first part of the season this sort of defeat would not have happened."

Pressure increased
To make matters worse, Hamburg's major winter signing Ailton has been ruled out for up to two months after breaking his jaw on Wednesday. His absence will increase the pressure on Sergej Barbarez, although he should not have to shoulder the burden for too long on his own. "My recovery is going faster than everybody expected," Van der Vaart said. "I will be back soon."


Wednesday, February 08, 2006 

Hamburg ready to test Arsenal for Hleb

The former Stuttgart ace is believed to be unhappy at Highbury after failing to hold down a regular place in the side.

Hleb has voiced his frustration at his situation and is believed to be considering his long-term future at Highbury.

Reports emanating from Germany and England suggest Hamburg are lining up a move to bring the midfielder back to Die Bundesliga.

Hamburg are believed to be ready to test Arsenal's resolve to hang onto Hleb by lodging a bid for the Belarus international in the summer.

Hleb's agent Uli Ferber refused to rule out a possible move for the attacking midfielder

"In football anything is possible, but I do not want to get involved in speculation," said Ferber.

Hleb moved to reject the reports linking him with Hamburg insisting he is happy at Arsenal.



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