x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Al Wasl to take on Hamburg after Al Wahda step aside

Al Wasl will play Hamburg SV of the German Bundesliga in a friendly on Tuesday after the club from the capital cited unpreparedness.

Al Wasl will replace the Pro League champions Al Wahda and play Hamburg SV of the German Bundesliga in a friendly on Tuesday, the deputy chief executive of the Abu Dhabi side said last night.

"We have had a tough two weeks and we are not prepared for a match like this," Khaled Awadh of Wahda said.

Wahda are missing five players on duty with the national team - Ismail Matar, Hamdan al Kamali, Mahmoud Khamis, Mohammed al Shehhi and Saeed Kathiri. Two more key players, Haider Ali and Adel al Hosani, are injured.

Earlier, the Wahda coach, Josef Hickersberger, conceded he had pushed to get out of the match against the European side, who have been training in Dubai during their winter break.

"I have to be honest, I tried to cancel the match against Hamburg because for me it's not making a lot of sense without the national team players," he said.

Now, Wasl will play Hamburg in the 6.30pm game at Al Nasr's grounds in Dubai.

Wahda would have played three matches in eight days, including Etisalat Cup matches tomorrow against Al Nasr and away to Al Dhafra on January 7.

Hickersberger conceded he had worried about a lopsided result against Hamburg.

"I'm well aware of this fact because Hamburg is much better team than us."

Wasl are higher-placed in the Pro League than are Wahda, with 17 points from 11 matches to Wahda's 15 points from 10 games. Wahda suffered defeats of 2-1 to Baniyas and 4-2 to Dhafra last week. Wasl has been led by Francisco Yeste, the midfielder from Spain, and the Brazilian forward Alexandre Oliveira. Wasl has only one player, goalkeeper Majed Naser, off with the national team.