Labbadia relishing VfB Stuttgart clash

Highlights – FC Schalke 04 vs FC Bayern München

Hamburger SV head coach Bruno Labbadia is eagerly anticipating his side’s “pivotal” Bundesliga clash against Stuttgart on Saturday evening.

HSV currently occupy 11th position in the league standings with Stuttgart down in 15th, but only four points separate the two teams and Labbadia is fully aware of important it is to pick up the win.

“It is always a special situation when we play them and every game seems to be pivotal because things are so tight in the Bundesliga,” he told the club’s official website.

Hamburger SV suffered an agonising 2-1 defeat to Bundesliga leaders Bayern München in their first game of the second half of the campaign last week and the 49-year-old coach revealed things did not go to plan in their mid-season training camp.

“After things didn’t go so well at our training camp we have searched for solutions during the last fortnight. That was visible at times against Bayern last week,” he explained.

“It is a different feeling in the camp right now. We have worked hard on our game all week and will continue to focus on Stuttgart until Saturday.”

He went on to reveal that both Albin Ekdal and Emir Spahic will not recover from injury in time for the clash and said he was not willing to risk further damage by bringing them back too soon.

“Everyone knows that Ekdal and Spahic are still injured. Emir might begin working with the ball again next week which won’t be easy, because everything he does affects the injured area,” he added.

“If you start working too early you can cause a further setback which is why we are being very careful. Andi Hirzel was sidelined for a couple of days this week with a stomach bug. Apart from that everyone is on board.”