Hamburg will be without defender Slobodan Rajkovic for their next three Bundesliga matches, following a hearing with the DFB Sports Court on Tuesday.
Rajkovic was sent off in the first half of their 1-1 draw with Kaiserslautern last weekend for a supposed elbow. But Hamburg are not satisfied with the verdict and vowed to make an appeal ahead of their trip to Bayer Leverkusen this weekend.
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“This was not an assault, [Rajkovic] did not do it on purpose; he did not swing at him,” HSV sporting director Frank Arnesen said, according to Kicker magazine.
In team news ahead of the BayArena clash, Mladen Petric will be missing for the next month for Hamburg after sustaining a thigh strain in training last week. The Croatian’s absence will allow Marcus Berg to keep his place alongside Paolo Guerrero in attack, while Deikmeier will step in for Rajkovic.
For the home side, captain Simon Rolfes is set to return to the starting XI after dropping down to the bench against Freiburg last time out.
Leverkusen legend Michael Ballack should be fit to start despite playing the Champions League tie against Valencia in midweek with a mask to protect his broken nose.
The hosts will go into the contest as favourites, with Hamburg struggling in the bottom three of the Bundesliga table. But Leverkusen won’t be entirely satisfied with their start – Ballack and Co. sit eighth in the league standings.
The BayArena club have not lost any of their last four games against Hamburg. However, they have only won one of their previous six clashes with Torsten Fink’s side at their home stadium.
The hosts have also collected the most red cards in the Bundesliga this season with three, while Hamburg have received the most bookings, having collected 29 yellow cards so far. The action kicks off at 5:30 BST on Saturday evening.