As of now (Tuesday, September 17th) it looks like Thorsten Fink has been let go. Am I surprised? Not really. Maybe the timing is a bit strange but overall, let’s be honest, we all saw this coming. As they say in German: Lieber ein Ende mit Schrecken als ein Schrecken ohne Ende (Google Translate is your friend). Not that any of the names that are linked with the job are particularly assuring but you know, hope springs eternal.
Since I’m a horrible (read: lazy) blogger, I’ve decided to upload some pictures I took recently (this season) at the many HSV games I attend (humble brag) to make you feel better. Some are pretty, some are as good as Hamburg’s defending. So simply forget about all those worries for now and look at some images of what it’s all about: wet shoes, foreign lands (yes, the Ruhrpott counts), long travels, the two milliseconds it takes for your brain to register that your team just scored a goal, group hugs with strangers, chanting when you’re ahead/behind/drawing, crappy stadium beer, good stadium beer, and most importantly the other people (bless their hearts) that are brave enough to support the club as you do.
Oh, and here’s a video of some adorable Golden Retriever puppies:
Uhm. I once did a podcast. It dealt with this Rückrunde’s Bayern v Hamburg game. Yeah, that game. Needless to say I don’t sound like Morgan Freeman (just imagine how awkward that would be) and I’m a notorious fast talker. And no, I don’t rap. Often. I also eat words. Sometimes literally.
You can find it here if you’re interested. My part about the Bayern v HSV game starts about 33 minutes in.
Also check out Rekordmeister for all your Bayern-related needs. I come for the game analysis, I stay for the gifs.
It’s seldom appropriate to start a blog entry about your football club’s season with a Charles Dickens quote (you come across as a dick) but this HSV season was truly marked by a lot of superlatives. While Hamburg’s 7th place indicates an average season, it hardly ever felt like one. After all it’s not every season, that you beat the reigning champions twice OR lose to Bayern 9:2. More importantly though, even the “average” games were too good or too bad to be truly considered average. Things were a little crazy this season. In the end HSV’s 7th place probably justly reflects this trend. After all, 48 points and a 42:53 goal difference are pretty good indicators of mediocrity. If that’s not enough for you: 14 wins, 6 draws, 14 losses (you can’t get much more mediocre on paper).
If you look at Hamburg’s season without the highest of the highs (both Dortmund games) and the lowest of the lows (Bayern away game), you are still left with a lot of inconclusive matches. Needless to say HSV didn’t sparkle in any of their games this season. But it is kind of symptomatic that most Bundesliga fans have already forgotten that Hamburg’s best game this season, in terms of overall team performance, was at least in my humble opinion the 3:1 home win against Schalke. I still remember watching in awe how the team actually managed to create quite a lot of nice chances, managed to defend nicely (yes, the Rincon handball but come on, this is Hamburg!) and controlled the match for most of the 90 minutes. The 2:0 is definitely one of my favourite goals of this season due to the beautiful offensive link-up between Beister, Diekmeier and Rudnevs. Who doesn’t enjoy a little lucky backheel? Also, the fact that we were still in the running for a European spot at the last matchday of the season should also be considered an achievement, considering how the team started the season.
The first three games of the season were all losses and I have to admit that I even though I am a van der Vaart apologist (re: his football performance, we all know his personal life is a toxic mess that needs its own permanent repository) I was very much doubtful if his presence and the other two late transfers of Milan Badelj and Petr Jiracek were enough to turn this team’s performance around. Then of course, the Dortmund game happened and my little fragile heart was starting to believe again, if only a little bit. It would then of course go on to be crushed again multiple times but that is besides the point. The Dortmund game was in a lot of ways the true start to the season.
Why then were we not good enough to play European football if we, at least at times, managed to win “big games”? The answer is easy: we simply were not good enough. The majority of games were a hot mess, that sometimes Hamburg managed to win through luck/will/individual brilliance/crappy form of opponent/a moment of cohesiveness/divine intervention(?) but in the end Hamburg also lost a lot of games (a good case can actually be made for the fact that we didn’t draw enough games). It was not the now infamous 9:2 loss against Bayern that, although painful like Weser bank sand in your eyes, cost us a European spot. It was drawing against Fürth at home or losing against Augsburg, also at the Volksparkstadion. Those lost points were probably the points we could and should have secured in order to be serious contenders for Europe. Let’s also not forget that we only had a chance to play in the Europa League because nobody really seemed to want to play Europa League football next season.
So what do we make of this season? I have to say I’m still very happy with 7th place. Even as I was standing in the Volksparkstadion on the last matchday just seconds after Kießling had scored, the thought running through my head was a happy “Oh well, we tried.” 7th place is still a lot more than I could have been hoping for at the beginning of the season. We almost got relegated last season for Keegan’s sake! What I want for Hamburg is constant and sustainable improvement. That kind of improvement doesn’t arrive over night and yes, a lot of things will need to change. But folks, let’s hold each other’s hands and pray for some patience here. Oh, and let’s not forget: http://www.istderhsvdienummereinsimnorden.de/
The things that do worry me are not about our place in the table or a missed chance to play European football but that I still simply do not really know what to really make of this team. I will probably try to assess my feeling concerning the single players and the coach in a series of separate blog entries (spoiler alert: I might get René Adler’s name tatooed on my forehead). Other than that I’m also a little cautious of how things are financially at the club but yet again, as with all things that have a danger of unsettling you, it is best to not think about that for now but make it a subject of a later blog post.
If you’ve found this blog, I assume you already have a vague idea of who I am, if not feel free to check out my brief introduction.
After over almost two years of twitter, I’ve finally decided to get serious about sharing my completely unbiased, expert, and always well-founded football opinions with you. This will not be a tactical blog (go visit Spielverlagerung.de) and this will not be a blog completely focused on HSV, although because they cause me a lot of happiness and pain (mostly pain) you can count on them being the subject of many future posts.
I’ve decided to write this blog in English because a lot of the people I interact with on the internet about football are not German and I also would like them to understand (at least in theory) what I will be rambling on about on here.
Hopefully my first “real” post will be up soon! Until then: Nur der HSV.