HAMBURG HOPE FOR HAPPYANNIVERSARY
Hamburg hope to celebrate 50 years of top-flight football with a win over Mainz on Saturday.
The northern Germany club are the only founding member of the Bundesliga never to have been relegated, and they can maintain that spotless record with a win at the HSV-Arena.
Even a point may be enough for Hamburg to join 17 other clubs going into the 50th anniversary of the Bundesliga, but coach Thorsten Fink does not want to take any risks which may extend the agony.
"We have got to win to be sure," he said. "We don't want to be going to Augsburg on the final day of the season still panicking."
Mladen Petric would not be around for Hamburg's 50th season in the top flight and he will be given a fitting send-off.
The Croatian striker, scorer of 38 goals in four years at the club, has decided not to extend his contract, which expires in June, and he will be making his last appearance at the HSV-Arena.
"Mladen will start against Mainz," the coach announced at the pre-match press conference.
"The way he plays between the lines of attack is perfect for us."
Paolo Guerrero will be his partner as he returns after an eight-game suspension.
"Paolo has learnt from his eight-week break and he is our number one striker," said Fink, who also hopes to have goalkeeper Jaroslav Drobny fit to take his regular place in goal.
Mainz secured their top-flight status last weekend and have relatively little to play.
That does not mean they will be easy opponents, though, as coach Thomas Tuchel has assured total commitment until the final whistle on May 5.
"The season has not ended yet, just because we have reached our fundamental goal" he said.
"We are preparing for this game with the same routine and the same attitude as we would prepare for any other game.
"We have a duty towards ourselves (to take it seriously)."
Radoslav Zabavnik will not play a part, though, due to injury, although he may return for Mainz's final game of the season next weekend.
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