Hamburg vs Schalke Preview

New Schalke coach Huub Stevens has played down the quirk of the Bundesliga fixture list which means his first game in charge will be against Hamburg.

Football News: Huub Stevens, Schalke

Stevens was regarded as the number one candidate to become HSV's new coach after holding talks with the club's director of sport Frank Arnesen last weekend.

However, just a few days later Hamburg said the negotiations had broken down with Arnesen fearing that Stevens was not 100% focused on joining his club, and the Dutchman was subsequently appointed Schalke boss.

His first Bundesliga match at the Royal Blues' helm takes him to the HSV-Arena - where he was expected to be anyway - but Stevens insists it is no big deal.

"To be going to Hamburg, with whom I was recently discussing becoming their coach, is just football," said Stevens.

"It is a normal game for me and I want to win it."

The fact Stevens was so close to taking over at Hamburg means he also had a close look at their playing squad and style of play, and this may help him prepare for Sunday's match.

"They are very strong in attack and are always dangerous from set-pieces, but they are susceptible at the back," he said.

Sunday's game will probably be the last on the bench for Hamburg's caretaker coach Rodolfo Cardoso.

He was put in charge following the dismissal of Michael Oenning just under a fortnight ago but, according to league rules, he is not permitted to work as head coach for more than a fortnight as he does not have the necessary qualification.

That two-week period of grace expires on Tuesday, but he is not even thinking about it.

"I do hear that a lot is being discussed about that, but my concentration is solely on the Schalke game," he said.

"Nothing else is under my control."

As for Sunday's game, Cardoso is expected to name the same team which secured Hamburg's first win of the season last Friday night in Stuttgart.

The Royal Blues, meanwhile, will give late fitness tests to former Real Madrid pair Christoph Metzelder and Raul, who picked up knocks in the Europa League victory over Maccabi Haifa on Thursday.



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