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Veh optimistic of Hamburg’s title credentials

SoccerNews in Bundesliga 24 Aug 2009

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Armin Veh has hailed Hamburg as serious title contenders, after they kept the defending champions VfL Wolfsburg at bay.

“Hamburg are a great bet for the title this season, they’ve got a really good side,” said VfL coach Veh following his side’s 4-2 defeat at the hands of the Northerners on Sunday.

Indeed, the result left Bruno Labbadia’s charges just behind leaders Bayer 04 Leverkusen in the Bundesliga table on goal difference.

A performance which showed commitment, flair and desire, HSV ended Wolfsburg’s 20-match unbeaten home run in spectacular fashion. However, talk of a first championship title in 22 years were played down by Labbadia.

“Armin has put real pressure on us by saying that, but I would do the same if I were him. I think it’s a bit early for all that, though. We’ve had a good start to the season, but that’s it for now,” said the 43-year-old former German international. “The first half was very good, but we didn’t make the most of our chances. There is plenty of room for improvement,” he added.

Striker Mladen Petric was slightly more belligerent in his views: “If we play 31 more games like that then we’ll win it.” “If we carry on like that, we’ll be very hard to beat,” agreed defensive stalwart Joris Mathijsen.

Veh unsatisfied

“We were poor, particularly in the first half. We had Diego to thank for keeping the score down to 2-0 at half time,” said VfL playmaker Zvjezdan Misimovic. Sentiments shared by his coach: “In the first half we were nowhere to be seen. You can’t expect to get a result like that,” said Veh, who experienced defeat for the first time as Wolfsburg manager.

Conversely, one man who was particularly pleased with the result was Romeo Castelen, Hamburg’s Dutch midfielder who was making his Bundesliga return following almost two years out with a serious knee injury: “When I scored and all the players were lying on top of me I could barely breathe. I was so happy at that moment, you wouldn’t believe it,” said the former Feyenoord man.

As HSV celebrated victory, Wolfsburg were quick to look to the future. The ‘Wolves’ take on a dormant force in the form of FC Bayern Munchen on Saturday: “We’ve just lost to one big team so we need to work hard to make sure it doesn’t happen again. We are well aware of how difficult Bayern will be,” said last season’s top goalscorer Grafite.

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