A big win for the leaders of the 2. Bundesliga. Hamburg progress to the quarter finals of the DFB-Pokal after beating Bundesliga side Nürnberg 1-0. HSV captain Lewis Holtby spoke to DFB.de about the key to success, the next step and the dream of the final in Berlin.
DFB.de: Mr Holtby, you’ve won your game and dominated comprehensively. Would you have expected your team to put on such a convincing performance?
Lewis Holtby: That was a very good game for us, lots of dominance and against a Bundesliga side as well. The statistics combined with the way we played illustrated how good our performance was. We would have wanted to kill the game earlier and make it 2-0; that was our only real shortcoming. Despite that I have to compliment the team. Today we had a very young team on the pitch as a few of our more senior players are unavailable (captain Aaron Hunt and striker Pierre-Michel Lasogga are both out with injury). The fact that the players managed to play with such composure was amazing.
DFB.de: How was it playing with Berkay Özcan next to you, who scored the decisive goal?
Holtby: Very good. He rewarded himself with a great goal. The team and I were very happy about that. It’s always good when you have a lot of quality in the centre, which we also had with Orel Mangala and then later Vasilije Janjicic, who also played a good game. We were dominant through our combination play and let the opposition run a lot. That’s how we have to continue.
DFB.de: How important is an understanding within the team, also without Lasogga and Hunt in the squad, in order to be successful?
Holtby: Those were two very important games for us and those two players have experience and are just perfect goal threats. We have to compensate for their injuries as a team and that’s exactly what we’re doing.
DFB.de: What is now possible for you in the DFB-Pokal?
Holtby: Anything is possible in the DFB-Pokal. That’s what we showed, as well as Heidenheim against Leverkusen. If you have a bit of luck and maybe play at home, you can quickly find yourself in Berlin. That is a very good target and of course also a lot of work. However, as long as you are still in the competition, you dream about it.
DFB.de: Of course HSV and two other 2. Bundesliga teams are still in the competition (Heidenheim and SC Paderborn). Would you want a second division opponent for the next round?
Holtby: They are also very good teams. Heidemheim beat Leverkusen and played very well. Same goes for Paderborn. If you want a real highlight then there might be something like a home game against Bayern Munich, which would of course be amazing. At the end of the day, however, I just want a team that you can see have a good game against. From that I’d say a second division opponent wouldn’t go amiss.
DFB.de: Holstein Kiel could also join you in the quarter finals depending on their result. However, after two losses to them in the league, that wouldn’t be an ideal opponent, right?
Holtby: (laughs) They are our nemesis. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter. We live in the moment and the team are looking forward to the midweek game ahead of us. We played 90 minutes on Saturday against Bielefeld and today we have gave a real fight to progress. There’s a lot of character in that.
DFB.de: And how did you feel at the end of the game to be able to celebrate with the fans?
Holtby: That was amazing. That’s why you play football, for these special moments at home when you dominate a game and have fun while doing so. After that you just want to go and celebrate with the fans – it’s amazing. Those are amazing moments, that’s my life.