Bundesliga preview

Van Nistelrooy stresses commitment

February 10, 2011

Ruud van Nistelrooy insists he remains "a hundred-thousand percent" committed to the Hamburg cause ahead of what could be a pivotal week in the club's season.

Saturday's clash with Wolfsburg kicks off a busy sequence for Hamburg, with a city derby against St Pauli, rearranged due to heavy rain last weekend, scheduled for next Wednesday.

They round out next week with another derby against Werder Bremen and Van Nistelrooy has said he can be counted on to give his all after weeks of speculation about his future.

The 34-year-old has announced that he will leave the club when his contract expires in the summer after having his dream return to Real Madrid blocked over the winter, but he insists he will honour his last league 13 games with the club and do all he can to ensure Hamburg end the season on a high.

"The important thing is what we have now, and we have a really exciting week," Van Nistelrooy said. "There has been an issue which, in truth, isn't really an issue for me since I had forgotten about Real Madrid a fortnight ago and have been fully focused on HSV.

"I am a hundred-thousand percent committed to HSV and will give all I have got in these three months to have the best possible success here. We can still achieve a lot this season. There is a lot of quality in this team and the important thing is the club heads where it wants to go."

Victory over Wolfsburg, who will be coached for the first time by Pierre Littbarski following the dismissal of Steve McClaren earlier in the week, would take Hamburg back into the hunt for a place in Europe next season.

That hunt seems to be reduced to just eight clubs, although after last weekend's results, the league title seems to be heading to only one of them - Borussia Dortmund.

Dortmund's draw with Schalke enabled them to extend their lead at the top to 12 points over Bayer Leverkusen, and they travel to struggling Kaiserslautern on Saturday looking to move one step closer to their first title since 2002.

Even Bayern Munich appear to have lost hope of catching them given their 15-point deficit, but a win over Hoffenheim on Saturday is nevertheless essential for them to put the pressure on Leverkusen and third-placed Mainz for a place in the Champions League next season.

Mainz are not in action until Sunday, when they travel to Cologne, while fourth-placed Hannover could also have dropped a position by the time they visit Werder Bremen's Weser Stadion on Sunday.

At the bottom of the table, Michael Frontzeck's job appears to be on the line as Borussia Monchengladbach travel to fellow strugglers St Pauli while Stuttgart will be aiming to finally move out of the bottom three on Saturday when they host Nurnberg.

Schalke also need three points to ensure they do not get dragged back down into danger when they host in-form Freiburg. Finally, Eintracht Frankfurt welcome Leverkusen to the Waldstadion.