Wolfsburg boss Labbadia ignores Holtby’s comments before key clash
The Wolves have a five-point advantage over relegation rivals Hamburg.
Bruno Labbadia insists Wolfsburg are in the Bundesliga box seat ahead of their crucial relegation battle with his former club Hamburg.
Wolfsburg have mustered just one win in 11 games but head into Saturday’s vital clash boasting a five-point cushion over their relegation foes.
Lewis Holtby fired Hamburg to a 1-0 win over Freiburg last weekend, then told his side’s rivals for the drop: “I can only say to those who are still standing in front of us: I wouldn’t want to be in your skin.”
Two wins in three matches have Hamburg snapping at Wolfsburg’s heels, but Labbadia remains unfazed by Holtby’s comments.
When asked to respond to Holtby’s stance, Wolfsburg’s ex-Hamburg manager Labbadia told the club’s official website: “Nobody feels comfortable in a relegation battle, whether it’s HSV or ourselves.
“With our five-point advantage I feel we’re in a much more comfortable position than HSV.”
Wolfsburg can relegate Hamburg with victory at the Volkswagen Arena, but Labbadia remains focused on his men advancing their own safety concerns.
“The most important thing right now is that HSV are five points adrift,” Labbadia said.
“It doesn’t matter who you are – if you’re near the bottom and everyone else has already written you off you can sometimes put a good run of results together. Just look at Cologne!
“You can play with an element of freedom. The advantage for us is that it’s in our hands. We either allow HSV to close the gap or take a big step towards safety.”
Hamburg boss Christian Titz insist his players are confident of pulling off a third win in four games, which would leave them trailing Wolfsburg by just two points with two games to play.
“I think we have a good combination of confidence and excitement going into the game,” Titz told Hamburg’s official club website.
“We’re very happy to have the chance to still be playing in meaningful games at this point of the season.
“The only thing on my mind is what we need to do as a team and as a coaching staff to stay in the Bundesliga.
“It’s important that we let our actions do the talking for us out on the pitch.
“I think this will be a very physically demanding game, but it will be also very interesting and entertaining. If we play like we did last week, then we certainly have a good chance to get some points.”