Category Archives: Hamburg SV

Bundesliga Review – Same old Bayern, taking the Piz by Archie Rhind-Tutt

Dinosaurs may now be extinct but when they did roam the planet they were said to be fearsome creatures. Now, by definition of the fact Hamburg have been in the Bundesliga for all 50 seasons, they are renowned for being the division’s dinosaur. Sadly for Thorsten Fink, they were more like Barney the Dinosaur at a time when they could least afford it; because any team who puts in a weak performance against this Bayern Munich side risks a thrashing.

The Bundesliga record champions displayed on Saturday why they’re on course to become the greatest team in the competition’s 50 year history. After a series of poor performances by the high standards they’ve set themselves this season, Bayern responded by annihilating Hamburg. The away side have had eyes on a Champions League place of late but their 9-2 thrashing at the league leaders should end those dreams.

Four of those goals came from third choice front man Claudio Pizarro. He has been something of a “Cash and Carry” striker this season as when he’s scored, he’s done so in bulk. The Peruvian played a part in six goals on Saturday, a Bundesliga record for a single game and he also moved into the list of the top ten Bundesliga scorers of all time. His performance alone showed how this season even players who warm the bench at Bayern do not disappoint when they’re let loose in the red shirt.

Pizarro’s return to Bavaria in the summer seemed strange though. He was never going to be the first choice striker, yet he had been one of the top scorers in the division last season, netting 18 for Werder Bremen. His quadruple on Saturday makes it harder to pick holes in his logic of moving back to Bayern. Whilst he could have played regularly for another club in the Bundesliga, it takes a very strong character to turn down Bayern Munich. When you’re averaging a goal every 72 minutes or so, as Pizarro has done this season, it’s unlikely he’ll have any regrets, especially after Saturday evening.

Both the Peruvian and die Roten were majestic, in contrast to visitors Hamburg who equalled their worst ever defeat in the Bundesliga, 49 years after they were beaten by the same scoreline at Bayern’s neighbours, 1860 Munich. Saturday’s apocalyptic performance also came 49 days after Hamburg thrashed Borussia Dortmund 4-1 at Signal Iduna Park. After Bayern’s nine though, you have to question whether a 4-1 score line even qualifies as a thrashing.

If it had a been a bout, the blue corner would have thrown in the towel at half time, though Thorsten Fink’s side effectively did, conceding another four after the league leaders had planted five past them in the first half. Still, there were a few positives for HSV. At least they scored (not many have done so against this Bayern side), at least their opponents didn’t get into double figures and at least Hamburg won’t have to travel to the Allianz Arena until August at the very earliest – in their last three visits, they’ve conceded 20.

As for Bayern, they will bounce into their Champions League quarter final with Juventus on Tuesday. The team that started on Saturday was lacking a few first choice members such as Alaba, Ribery and Mandzukic but they comprehensively outplayed a team challenging for a European place in the Bundesliga. A win next week at Eintracht Frankfurt will seal their 23rd Bundesliga title and never has it been more deserved for Bayern Munich.

Elsewhere in the Bundesliga:

  • Despite being constantly linked to Bayern Munich, Robert Lewandowski ensured his potential employers would have to wait until next week to seal the title. He scored the winner as Borussia Dortmund overcame Stuttgart. The side behind BVB, Bayer Leverkusen, were much more comfortable in Düsseldorf, as they swept past Fortuna thanks to two from Stefan Kiessling and two from André Schürrle.
  • Speaking of doubles, Max Kruse also netted a pair against Borussia Mönchengladbach ensuring Freiburg kept in the hunt for a Champions League place. And wouldn’t you just know it, he’s been linked with a move recently to… Borussia Mönchengladbach! Another fine pair could be found in Augsburg as Konstantin Rausch got both goals in a rare away triumph for Hannover.
  • However, it is Schalke who now lead the race for that final Champions League place after a 12 minute treble salvo saw them past lowly Hoffenheim. Level on points with the Royal Blues though are Eintracht Frankfurt. The Eagles won their first game in six and more poignantly, since Armin Veh signed a new contract during the week. They snuck past Greuther Fürth in an entertaining encounter on Sunday afternoon.
  • Mainz scored the quickest goal in their history when Adam Szalai scored after 12 seconds. Coincidentally, it was the fastest goal Werder Bremen have ever conceded too but Thomas Schaaf’s side recovered to grab a share of the points. As fate would have it, Sokratis and Marko Arnautovic, fresh from scuffling on the training ground, combined well to set up Aaron Hunt for the equaliser.
  • And finally, in what should have been labelled as the Dieter Hecking derby, Wolfsburg and Nürnberg played out a draw on Sunday. Hecking’s current side took a two goal lead before generously letting it slip as his former charges fought back to secure a draw. It included what can only be described as a “Thundercracker” from Belgian defender Timmy Simons.

Matchday 27 Results:

Augsburg 0-2 Hannover

Fortuna Düsseldorf 1-4 Bayer Leverkusen

Freiburg 2-0 Gladbach

Mainz 1-1 Werder Bremen

Schalke 3-0 Hoffenheim

Stuttgart 1-2 Borussia Dortmund

Bayern Munich 9-2 Hamburg

Wolfsburg 2-2 Nürnberg

Greuther Fürth 2-3 Eintracht Frankfurt

Table

Rank Club Matches W* D* L* G* GD* Pts.*
1 FC Bayern Munich 27 23 3 1 78:13 +65 72 CL*
2 Borussia Dortmund 27 15 7 5 62:32 +30 52 CL*
3 Bayer 04 Leverkusen 27 14 6 7 50:35 +15 48 CL*
4 FC Schalke 04 27 12 6 9 46:43 +3 42 CL* Qual.
5 Eintracht Frankfurt 27 12 6 9 42:39 +3 42 EL* Qual.
6 1. FSV Mainz 05 27 10 9 8 34:30 +4 39 EL* Qual.
7 SC Freiburg 27 10 9 8 35:33 +2 39
8 Borussia Mönchengladbach 27 9 11 7 35:37 -2 38
9 Hamburger SV 27 11 5 11 32:43 -11 38
10 Hannover 96 27 11 4 12 49:46 +3 37
11 1. FC Nuremberg 27 8 11 8 31:34 -3 35
12 VfL Wolfsburg 27 8 8 11 32:42 -10 32
13 VfB Stuttgart 27 9 5 13 29:46 -17 32
14 SV Werder Bremen 27 8 7 12 43:52 -9 31
15 Fortuna Düsseldorf 27 7 8 12 33:40 -7 29
16 FC Augsburg 27 5 9 13 23:40 -17 24 Play-offs
17 1899 Hoffenheim 27 5 5 17 30:52 -22 20 Relegation
18 Greuther Fürth 27 2 9 16 18:45 -27 15 Relegation

Table thanks to official Bundesliga website

Originally written at Football Fan Cast

Bundesliga Review – 4th place race to provide exciting finale by Archie Rhind-Tutt

As you probably know by now, the Bundesliga’s great. In fact, such is the extensive coverage it has recently received, you can probably recite off by heart all of the reasons for it being so. But, from a competitive point of view, the end of this season could be an anti-climax. The title race is over (unless Bayern Munich appoint Michael Skibbe) and at the bottom, it’s just a case of Hoffenheim, Augsburg and Greuther Fürth sorting out who plays in the promotion/relegation play off.

Fortunately, the battle for the final Champions League spot, known more dourly as fourth place, looks intriguing as we enter the final 12 games of the season. Seven points separate seven teams, though there’s a few who are unlikely to make it such as Gladbach, Hannover and Schalke.

Borussia Mönchengladbach may have done it last season but Lucien Favre’s team haven’t quite recovered from losing players like Marco Reus and Dante, who have been brilliant since moving on to Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich respectively. Losing to Hamburg this weekend leaves them seven adrift of fourth but playing in the Europa League has been a bit of a hindrance as Hannover can perhaps testify too.

The 96’s main problems though are away from home. Mirko Slomka’s side only won twice on the road last season and whilst they’ve matched the total this time around, Hannover had lost their previous four away games before drawing at lowly Nuremberg. That result may sound encouraging but Slomka saw his team lose the lead twice on Sunday, including a 91st minute equaliser from the home side’s Sebastian Polter. Still, Hannover are 8th meaning they’re above Schalke.

And when it comes to surprises, the Royal Blues’s capitulation ranks alongside the resignation of a certain German holy figure in the last week. Because much like the Pope, thousands gather to watch Schalke each week but in contrast, those decked in blue have been leaving bitterly disappointed. They’ve witnessed just one win in their last 11 games, yet new signing Michel Bastos seems to be on a solo crusade to drag Schalke forward. He scored twice in the weekend’s draw against Mainz, however, after little impact from new coach Jens Keller, fourth place looks very unlikely given their recent form.

Their opponents on Saturday, seventh placed Mainz, aren’t exactly front runners either but they are not a team to be underestimated. In Thomas Tuchel, they have one of the best, if not the best, young coaches in the country. He’s had relative success on a small budget and the fact that they are even close to a Champions League place is testament to Tuchel and Mainz as a club. Even so, the lack of a clinical touch at the weekend, against a weak Schalke side, showed why fourth may be beyond them for now.

For Hamburg, Freiburg and Eintracht Frankfurt though, the Champions League spot is a realistic possibility – and that’s surprising in each case. Hamburg finished fourth from bottom last season and have recovered from a nightmarish start this time around. Freiburg, like Mainz, are the provincial low budget outsiders who are overachieving spectacularly under Christian Streich. A year ago, they were bottom of the Bundesliga but Streich guided them to safety and even greater heights this season. Meanwhile, the current occupants of fourth place, Eintracht Frankfurt weren’t even in the Bundesliga last season. Since their promotion from the second tier though, they’ve looked very comfortable in the higher echelons of the top flight.

And from an unbiased viewpoint, what’s not to like about seeing three teams who would have been considered unlikely candidates at the start of the season all with genuine chances of reaching at least the qualification stage of the Champions League. Which team that will be is difficult to judge especially due to the lack of consistency each has shown. Still,  it was unsurprising to see Eintracht Frankfurt defeated comprehensively at Borussia Dortmund this weekend (and more specifically, by the magnificent Marco Reus who netted a hat-trick). That allowed Hamburg and Freiburg to close in on the Eagles.

Rafael van der Vaart, a player who has been a significant catalyst in Hamburg’s charge up the table, swerved a spectacular effort into the top corner to defeat Borussia Mönchengladbach in an otherwise dull affair. In contrast, Freiburg won an entertaining five goal thriller away at Werder Bremen in a game characterised by suspect defending. That’s not been typical of Freiburg this season, with only Bayern Munich conceding less goals. However, Streich’s team showed their character, having been pegged back twice after taking the lead, by scoring a third and decisive goal through Mathias Ginter. With Freiburg taking on Eintracht Frankfurt this Friday night, the race for that final Champions League spot could be even tighter come next Saturday.

But who will make it to fourth? Well, where’s the excitement in football when you know what’s going to happen. The fact each team has its flaws is part of what will make the race for fourth the most exciting aspect of the final games of the Bundesliga’s 50th season.

Elsewhere in the Bundesliga:

  • Bayern shaped up for their Champions League trip to London with a win at Wolfsburg on Friday night. The leaders weren’t as free flowing as they have been for most of the season, but the discipline they displayed showed why the Bavarians will be Bundesliga Champions come May. There were flashes of brilliance from Jupp Heynckes’s side too with Mario Mandzukic’s overhead kick the undoubted highlight of his return to former club Wolfsburg.
  • At the bottom of the table, Augsburg suffered their first defeat of 2013 at the BayArena with Bayer Leverkusen inspired by Stefan Kiessling. The joint top-scorer in the division headed in the first before setting up the second. Augsburg scored a late consolation through Sascha Mölders. The result didn’t affect Augsburg’s predicament at the bottom though as the side below them, Greuther Fürth, lost away at Fortuna Düsseldorf and the team above them, Hoffenheim, were beaten at home by Stuttgart.

Matchday 22 Results:

Wolfsburg 0-2 Bayern Munich

Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 Augsburg

Fortuna Düsseldorf 1-0 Fürth

Hamburg 1-0 Gladbach

Mainz 2-2 Schalke

Werder Bremen 2-3 Freiburg

Borussia Dortmund 3-0 Eintracht Frankfurt

Nuremberg 2-2 Hannover

Hoffenheim 0-1 Stuttgart

Table:

Rank Club Matches W* D* L* G* GD* Pts.*
1 FC Bayern Munich 22 18 3 1 57:7 +50 57 CL*
2 Borussia Dortmund 22 12 6 4 50:26 +24 42 CL*
3 Bayer 04 Leverkusen 22 12 5 5 43:30 +13 41 CL*
4 Eintracht Frankfurt 22 11 4 7 38:34 +4 37 CL* Qual.
5 SC Freiburg 22 9 7 6 29:22 +7 34 EL* Qual.
6 Hamburger SV 22 10 4 8 27:27 0 34 EL* Qual.
7 1. FSV Mainz 05 22 9 5 8 30:27 +3 32
8 Hannover 96 22 9 3 10 41:41 0 30
9 FC Schalke 04 22 8 6 8 35:37 -2 30
10 Borussia Mönchengladbach 22 7 9 6 31:33 -2 30
11 SV Werder Bremen 22 8 4 10 38:41 -3 28
12 VfB Stuttgart 22 8 4 10 24:39 -15 28
13 Fortuna Düsseldorf 22 7 6 9 27:29 -2 27
14 1. FC Nuremberg 22 6 8 8 22:29 -7 26
15 VfL Wolfsburg 22 7 5 10 22:32 -10 26
16 1899 Hoffenheim 22 4 4 14 26:46 -20 16 Play-offs
17 FC Augsburg 22 2 9 11 18:35 -17 15 Relegation
18 Greuther Fürth 22 2 6 14 13:36 -23 12 Relegation

Table thanks to official Bundesliga website

Article originally written at Football Fan Cast

Bundesliga Review – Hamburg shock Borussia Dortmund, again by Archie Rhind-Tutt

bvb_scoreboard

According to Hamburg’s official website: “Nobody in his right mind would have predicted HSV’s superb 4-1 win away to double winners Borussia Dortmund.” As you’d expect from a club publication commenting on their own fortunes, this description could be accused of glorifying their achievements. On this occasion though, it was justified.

Earlier this season, Hamburg prevented history by bringing Borussia Dortmund’s 31-match unbeaten run to an end but on Saturday, die Rothosen (“the red shorts”) made history by becoming the first side to beat Borussia Dortmund home and away since February 2010.

Saturday’s encounter was just as nonsensical and surprising as September’s 3-2 win, providing controversy and another five goals too. This time, it started as expected with the Champions scoring first. Heiko Westermann thought it would be a good idea to let a high ball bounce as it travelled back towards his own goal. Sadly for Westermann, Dortmund’s Robert Lewandowski agreed as he punished the defender by finishing neatly past Rene Adler.

Lewandowski has been subject to much transfer speculation in the press and intriguingly he has been linked to Bayern Munich. The chatter about the Polish striker was to continue after the game too but it would be for another contribution that would come later. Lewandowski’s finish was impressive, yet neither he nor the Dortmund defence were prepared for Hamburg to strike back 93 seconds later.

The visitors moved the ball forward with the speed and precision you’d usually associate with the Champions. Marcell Jansen’s one touch pass down the left hand side found Dennis Aogo. He immediately squared it into the box where Artjoms Rudnevs finished first time past Roman Weidenfeller, completing a slick response from the visitors. That goal demonstrated the coherence lacking in last week’s defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt. Eight minutes later, it was time for Hamburg to show the individual talent they possess.

Step forward Son Heung-Min, the 20-year-old South Korean who has been in great form for Hamburg, netting a series of wonder goals for the Northerners this season. One of those came against Borussia Dortmund back in Hamburg and on Saturday he scored a very similar effort. As he did in September, Son stormed down the right hand side before cutting inside on the edge of the penalty area and shooting. The ball found its intended target on both occasions – September’s effort curled into the net without any woodwork assistance but Saturday’s strike swerved inwards before smacking off the post and bouncing into the goal.

Away at the Champions, Hamburg were a goal up, and soon they were a man up too thanks to Robert Lewandowski and their very own Rafael van der Vaart. Whilst attempting to win the ball, the Polish striker caught HSV midfielder Per Ciljan Skelbred as he carelessly swung his right foot. Enter van der Vaart stage right.

Not being involved in the incident didn’t stop the Dutchman from falling to the floor dramatically in the resulting melee. His comments after the game confirmed his intentions to get Lewandowski sent off. He admitted: ‘I had the feeling that he would not otherwise have been sent off. It was a clear red card.’ Still, at the same time he sounded like a bad sitcom actor discussing his performance as he said: “In the scene with Lewandowski I had to do a bit of theatre.”

Either way, the Polish striker was off with van der Vaart settling for a yellow card (having missed out on an Oscar). However, Hamburg’s one man advantage was gone 15 minutes into the second half after Jeffrey Bruma brought down Marco Reus as he went through on goal.

Perhaps that gave Borussia Dortmund a false sense of security as within minutes, Hamburg had extended their lead with Rudnevs heading in van der Vaart’s brilliant cross. Three became four just minutes before the end of the game when Son Heung-Min slid in from a couple of yards, rounding off a magnificent victory for the visitors.

The 1-4 score line condemned Dortmund to their worst home defeat since a 5-1 drubbing to Bayern in September 2009. The result was all the more confusing given the assured start they’d made to 2013 and it certainly ended any dreams of BVB becoming Champions for a third year in a row. Saturday’s result will have added some unnecessary anxiety prior to this week’s Champions League game in Donetsk.

Talk of the Champions League has become relevant to Hamburg, even if some of their performances this season haven’t been worthy of a side challenging for Europe. They’re six points behind Eintracht Frankfurt who currently occupy the fourth and final Champions League spot. Greater consistency is needed in their performances for that to happen but on what was his return to his hometown club Saturday’s result is definitely the high point of Thorsten Fink’s time as coach.

Hamburg’s result against Dortmund in September changed their season, though Thorsten Fink will be hoping the score line at Signal Iduna Park will help define their season as HSV push for an unlikely place in the Champions League.

Elsewhere in the Bundesliga:

  • With Dortmund losing, it gave Bayer Leverkusen the chance to overtake them if they could win at Borussia Mönchengladbach but they ended up drawing 3-3 in another entertaining encounter. Even 4th placed Eintracht Frankfurt couldn’t win as they were held to a goalless draw by Nuremberg.
  • That gave Bayern Munich the chance to extend their lead to 15 points at the top of the Bundesliga, which they did as they thrashed sinking Schalke. It’s the first time the Royal Blues have entered the bottom half since the first match day of last season as they continue their poor start under interim coach Jens Keller.
  • The only side in worse form than Schalke are Stuttgart. They were thumped at home by Werder Bremen meaning they’ve now lost five consecutive games in the Bundesliga – something they hadn’t done for nearly 26 years. Still, Stuttgart can take solace in the fact that none of the sides below them won at the weekend.
  • Hoffenheim were edged out by Hannover thanks to Heurelho Gomes’s first Bundesliga blunder, picking up from where Tim Wiese left off. Augsburg fought back to earn a draw against 10-man Mainz. Greuther Fürth were unable to follow up last week’s historic win at Schalke as they lost at home to Wolfsburg whilst Fortuna Düsseldorf lost late on at high-flying Freiburg.

Matchday 21 Results:

Borussia Dortmund 1-4 Hamburg

Eintracht Frankfurt 0-0 Nuremberg

Gladbach 3-3 Bayer Leverkusen

Hannover 1-0 Hoffenheim

Fürth 0-1 Wolfsburg

Stuttgart 1-4 Werder Bremen

Bayern Munich 4-0 Schalke

Augsburg 1-1 Mainz

Freiburg 1-0 Fortuna Düsseldorf

Table:

Rank Club Matches W* D* L* G* GD* Pts.*
1 FC Bayern Munich 21 17 3 1 55:7 +48 54 CL*
2 Borussia Dortmund 21 11 6 4 47:26 +21 39 CL*
3 Bayer 04 Leverkusen 21 11 5 5 41:29 +12 38 CL*
4 Eintracht Frankfurt 21 11 4 6 38:31 +7 37 CL* Qual.
5 SC Freiburg 21 8 7 6 26:20 +6 31 EL* Qual.
6 1. FSV Mainz 05 21 9 4 8 28:25 +3 31 EL* Qual.
7 Hamburger SV 21 9 4 8 26:27 -1 31
8 Borussia Mönchengladbach 21 7 9 5 31:32 -1 30
9 Hannover 96 21 9 2 10 39:39 0 29
10 FC Schalke 04 21 8 5 8 33:35 -2 29
11 SV Werder Bremen 21 8 4 9 36:38 -2 28
12 VfL Wolfsburg 21 7 5 9 22:30 -8 26
13 1. FC Nuremberg 21 6 7 8 20:27 -7 25
14 VfB Stuttgart 21 7 4 10 23:39 -16 25
15 Fortuna Düsseldorf 21 6 6 9 26:29 -3 24
16 1899 Hoffenheim 21 4 4 13 26:45 -19 16 Play-offs
17 FC Augsburg 21 2 9 10 17:33 -16 15 Relegation
18 Greuther Fürth 21 2 6 13 13:35 -22 12 Relegation

Table thanks to official Bundesliga website

With thanks to @timbotania for the image

Article originally published on Football Fan Cast

Hamburg 0 Stuttgart 1: Fourth place a step too far for HSV

VfB Stuttgart coach Bruno Labbadia.

Terry Duffelen reflects on a well deserved and relatively unexpected away win for Stuttgart.

When Milan Badelj almost split the crossbar open on the stroke of half time and Artjoms Rudnevs headed in off the rebound, it looked like Hamburg would be heading into the break with an equaliser they barely deserved and having to face a less than severe bollocking from their coach Thorsten Fink. Their relief was short lived, however as Rudnevs was offside when Badelj unleashed his rocket and the home side remained one goal down.

The pre-match build up to this game was all about Hamburg and their fantastic revival after an horrendous start to the 2012/13 campaign. HSV had only dropped points once in their last four games and their unbeaten run included wins against Hannover and the Champions, Borussia Dortmund. A win would take them into fourth place which would be a impressive achievement, given their starting point.

However, this is the Hinrunde and at this time of year, Stuttgart usually find themselves under pressure and in need of results lest their coach Bruno Labaddia return to the family home with bad news. They started the game much like any other away side, looking to gain an early advantage before the home side settled. They almost pulled it off too after Hamburg ‘keeper Rene Adler made a smart save in the opening minutes from Martin Harnik. A minute later, VfB goalie, Sven Ulreich was given a feel of the ball from Rudnevs but after that it was all Stuttgart and their pressure very nearly paid off when Vedad Ibisevic had a golden chance score but was wide of the mark.

But Stuttgart persevered. They were sharper in the tackle, and quicker around the pitch against a Hamburg side that lacked urgency. The visitor’s reward finally came after 30 minutes with Ibisevic accepting an opportunity to score at close range from a cross by Martin Harnik.

Needless to say, Coach Fink sent his player out for the second half with the proverbial bomb up their backsides and Max Beister was sent on to replace Petr Jeracek who is still struggling since his move from Wolfsburg. Beister succeeded in finding some space in front of the Stuttgart defence but his attempts on goal were ill conceived as he was denied passing opportunities by the opposition.

For the benefit of the neutrals and perhaps lacking confidence in their ability to keep a clean sheet, Stuttgart went looking for a second goal. As the home side moved further the pitch, the inevitable gaps started to appear and both Michael Mancienne and Adler were forced to make last ditch blocks. Harnik, Ibrahima Traore, Christian Gentner provided the goal threats and Adler was kept busy. I also enjoyed the burly runs of the 19 year old Austrian Raphael Holzhauser for Stuttgart.

Rafael van der Vaart had a quiet game. In fact most of the energy and drive came from the alien creature inhabiting the body of Heiko Westermann. Since this possession took place, the German international is transformed from a plodding cart horse to an energetic, visionary who turns his men and leaves them standing while haring around the field destroying any attack he can get near. He was Hamburg’s best player on the day and even managed three shots on goal. Unfortunately, guys like Westermann don’t win football matches on their own and this result demonstrates how average Hamburg can be without a fully operational van der Vaart. Credit to William Kvist for Stuttgart for keeping an eye on the Dutchman and contributing to a well deserved away win for his team.

Bundesliga Review – Birthday Boys Hamburg Must Take Care by Archie Rhind-Tutt

Organising a birthday party usually means you have to do a few things. Get a cake, send out the invites and a few balloons shouldn’t go amiss either. Hamburg’s special anniversary was a little different. They celebrated 125 years of history on Saturday evening with 1000 guests and 10,000 fans in attendance for a gala at the O2 World Arena. That’s situated next to HSV’s very own Imtech Arena, a place where Hamburg were performing poorly at the start of this season. With the anniversary fast approaching, the Hamburg hierarchy must have been worried. After all, the mood of this weekend’s celebration was always going to be heavily dependent on how Hamburg were performing in the Bundesliga.

President Carl E. Jarchow joked on Saturday night that he was thankful Hamburg’s founding fathers hadn’t launched the club two weeks earlier. Indeed, it would have been a much more sombre and embarrassing occasion had the club’s anniversary been a fortnight ago after the horror start the Northerners made – three games, three losses.

The return of Rafael van der Vaart, dubbed the Messiah by some, coupled with the most unlikely of victories against Champions Borussia Dortmund lifted spirits tremendously. Throwing away a midweek lead against Borussia Mönchengladbach checked Hamburg’s adulation and on their anniversary weekend, they had high-flying Hannover to contend with in a Northern derby.

Come Saturday evening though, Hamburg had reason to celebrate their 125 years of existence with gusto, after a slender victory over their Lower Saxony counterparts. The only goal of the game was provided by HSV favourite van der Vaart. The Dutchman volleyed Artjom Rudnevs through on goal and he  smashed past Ron-Robert Zieler with aplomb.

As has become customary this season when playing Hamburg, the opposition will always have quite a few opportunities but what is becoming equally constant is how René Adler will also be present to save his side on numerous occasions. Saturday’s encounter with Hannover was no different as Adler made a string of fine stops to ensure his first clean sheet of the season – something he deserves for his endeavours since his summer move from Bayer Leverkusen.  Most importantly, the goalkeeper’s performance helped to secure a second Bundesliga win for Hamburg, as Thorsten Fink’s side climbed away from the relegation zone.

Slipping out of the top tier hasn’t been unthinkable such has been the quality of performances in recent months. Naturally the club are proud of the fact they are the only team in the Bundesliga to have never been relegated. What’s more, since 1919, Hamburg have always played in whatever has been Germany’s top flight.

This weekend did help to show what is special about the club but despite their recent resurgence, HSV are not out of the woods. Asides from René Adler, their defence looks poor and that continues to be a major worry but since van der Vaart’s arrival, goals haven’t looked hard to come by.

Prior to the Dutchman’s return, Hamburg had gone 6 hours in the Bundesliga without a goal but when van der Vaart’s played, they average two goals per game. So long as that statistic continues, the Bundesliga’s dinosaur will remain in the top flight for yet another season. Still, Saturday showed how big a club Hamburg are and there won’t (or shouldn’t) be any celebrations for a mid-table finish come the end of the campaign. The weekend’s anniversary was enjoyable for Hamburg but there’s quite a way to go until there’s reason to properly celebrate the efforts of the current team.

Elsewhere in the Bundesliga

  • Bayern Munich continued their perfect start with a clinical 2-0 win at Werder Bremen. Newly promoted Eintracht Frankfurt, somehow, remain just two points behind them after recording their fifth victory of the campaign against Freiburg.
  • Borussia Dortmund bounced back from their recent away day misery by thrashing last season’s surprise package Borussia Mönchengladbach 5-0. Dortmund’s Ruhr rivals weren’t so ruthless as Schalke threw away a two-goal lead at the impressive Fortuna Düsseldorf, another promoted side yet to lose this season.
  • Stuttgart finally got their first win of the campaign, winning 2-0 at Nuremberg whilst Bayer Leverkusen won by the same scoreline against lowly Greuther Fürth. Mainz were another team to win by two goals, shocking pre-season dark horses Wolfsburg in Lower Saxony.
  • However, what marred this weekend’s Bundesliga action was a car crash involving Hoffenheim’s Boris Vukcevic. The midfielder sustained serious injuries and is still in an induced coma. Vukcevic’s parents insisted Hoffenheim’s game against Augsburg went ahead but as the 0-0 scoreline suggests, thoughts were probably elsewhere on both sides.
For more on the Bundesliga, follow @archiert1 on Twitter

Matchday 6 Results:

Fortuna Düsseldorf 2-2 Schalke

Bayer Leverkusen 2-0 Fürth

Hamburg 1-0 Hannover

Hoffenheim 0-0 Augsburg

Nuremberg 0-2 Stuttgart

Werder Bremen 0-2 Bayern Munich

Borussia Dortmund 5-0 Gladbach

Eintracht Frankfurt 2-1 Freiburg

Wolfsburg 0-2 Mainz

Table

Rank Club Matches W* D* L* G* GD* Pts.*
1 FC Bayern Munich 6 6 0 0 19:2 +17 18 CL*
2 Eintracht Frankfurt 6 5 1 0 16:8 +8 16 CL*
3 Borussia Dortmund 6 3 2 1 16:8 +8 11 CL*
4 FC Schalke 04 6 3 2 1 12:7 +5 11 CL* Qual.
5 Hannover 96 6 3 1 2 14:9 +5 10 EL* Qual.
6 Fortuna Düsseldorf 6 2 4 0 6:2 +4 10 EL* Qual.
7 Bayer 04 Leverkusen 6 3 1 2 9:7 +2 10
8 SV Werder Bremen 6 2 1 3 9:10 -1 7
9 1899 Hoffenheim 6 2 1 3 10:12 -2 7
10 Hamburger SV 6 2 1 3 8:10 -2 7
11 1. FSV Mainz 05 6 2 1 3 6:8 -2 7
12 1. FC Nuremberg 6 2 1 3 7:11 -4 7
13 Borussia Mönchengladbach 6 1 3 2 7:12 -5 6
14 SC Freiburg 6 1 2 3 8:10 -2 5
15 VfB Stuttgart 6 1 2 3 5:12 -7 5
16 VfL Wolfsburg 6 1 2 3 2:10 -8 5 Play-offs
17 Greuther Fürth 6 1 1 4 2:10 -8 4 Relegation
18 FC Augsburg 6 0 2 4 2:10 -8 2 Relegation

Table thanks to the official Bundesliga Website

Article originally written at Football Fan Cast

Bundesliga Review – Dortmund shocked as Bayern take early lead – by Archie Rhind-Tutt

Borussia Dortmund losing, Hamburg winning, and Bayern Munich exercising caution in comments to the press – these events have been rare recently but all three took place over the course of a curious weekend in the Bundesliga. Curious because Borussia Dortmund had gone 31 league games unbeaten. Curious because Hamburg have been, as the Guardian’s Raphael Honigstein has put it, the worst side in the league so far and curious because Bayern Munich just don’t do caution.

It doesn’t end there either because newly promoted Eintracht Frankfurt, a side albeit not unfamiliar to the Bundesliga, are level with Bayern on top of the table, boasting a 100% record too. This was after they became the first promoted side to win their opening four games, by winning at Nuremberg on Friday night.

Substitute Erwin Hoffer gave the Eagles the lead, only to be eclipsed by his teammate Takashi Inui who scored a superb second goal. The man from Japan cut inside on the left, beat a few players, before planting it into the bottom corner of Raphael Schӓfer’s goal. No wonder people continue to rave about the Japanese influence in the Bundesliga, even after Shinji Kagawa’s summer exit. Hiroshi Kiyotake (Japanese) set up Sebastian Polter for what turned out to be a consolation for Nuremberg as Eintracht Frankfurt held on. Their coach Armin Veh won the Bundesliga with Stuttgart in 2007 but he admitted on Friday that more difficult times might lie ahead.

Bayern Munich were treading a similar line, even after their 2-0 win at Schalke on Saturday. The home side had their chances in the first half but were punished by Bayern Munich early in the second. Toni Kroos and Thomas Müller scored the goals which ensured the Bavarians have four wins from four. “Just because we are currently ahead of Dortmund does not mean we will automatically win the league,” warned Arjen Robben. Bayern Munich director Karl-Heinz Rummenigge echoed this. “We cannot allow euphoria. Last season, we were eight points clear of Dortmund, and we know how it all ended.”

Still, the Bundesliga’s record Champions have looked clinical so far this season whilst the current Champions haven’t exactly raced out of the blocks. For whilst Borussia Dortmund were 31 games unbeaten before Saturday, their performances just haven’t been on the same level as they were at the end of last season. Nevertheless, you’d have expected to see BVB pick up three points against a Hamburg side that have been woeful to date.

This didn’t happen though as HSV managed to secure the most unlikely of victories. Son Heung-Min gave the home team the lead after a great cross from returning Hamburg hero Rafael van der Vaart. Dortmund equalised through a fortunate Ivan Perisic effort just 24 seconds after half time and it was at this point, you’d have expected the northerners to crumble, but not so. Five minutes later, some poor goalkeeping from Roman Weidenfeller allowed Ivo Ilicevic to grab a second for Thorsten Fink’s side on the break. Soon after, it wasn’t inappropriate to say that Hamburg were walking on “Sonshine” as the Korean scored a brilliant third, unleashing a cracking effort into the corner from 25 yards. Perisic pulled another back for Dortmund but despite plenty of chances and pressure, keeper René Adler stood firm for Hamburg as they clinched their first win of the season.

In the context of the Bundesliga as a whole, Hamburg overcoming Borussia Dortmund isn’t a big deal but in the context of this season, it’s huge. BILD proclaimed (perhaps prematurely) that Hamburg “is a happy family again,” whilst Jürgen Klopp was understandably unhappy with his side’s performance. “That was really s***y,” was his rather honest reaction to Dortmund’s first defeat in just over a year, leaving the Champions five points behind Bayern and Eintracht Frankfurt.

Borussia Dortmund won’t panic. After all, they’re no stranger to early season defeats having endured three in their first six games during the last campaign. A trip to high flying Eintracht Frankfurt on Tuesday will be a good test of their character but Bayern Munich will be delighted with the position they’re in. Their summer of spending has been justified so far with new players such as Mandzukic and Shaqiri showing Bayern have a new level of strength in depth – something they missed dearly last season. Yet, his weekend is likely to be the first of a few twists in this year’s Bundesliga title race. Bayern Munich certainly have the edge, for now.

Matchday 4 Results:

Nuremberg 1-2 Eintracht Frankfurt

Fortuna Düsseldorf 0-0 Freiburg

Hamburg 3-2 Borussia Dortmund

Mainz 2-0 Augsburg

Schalke 0-2 Bayern Munich

Wolfsburg 1-1 Fürth

Bayer Leverkusen 1-1 Gladbach

Hoffenheim 3-1 Hannover

Werder Bremen 2-2 Stuttgart

Table

Rank Club Matches W* D* L* G* GD* Pts.*
1 FC Bayern Munich 4 4 0 0 14:2 +12 12 CL*
2 Eintracht Frankfurt 4 4 0 0 11:4 +7 12 CL*
3 Hannover 96 4 2 1 1 10:7 +3 7 CL*
4 Borussia Dortmund 4 2 1 1 8:5 +3 7 CL* Qual.
5 FC Schalke 04 4 2 1 1 7:5 +2 7 EL* Qual.
6 1. FC Nuremberg 4 2 1 1 6:5 +1 7 EL* Qual.
7 Fortuna Düsseldorf 4 1 3 0 2:0 +2 6
8 SC Freiburg 4 1 2 1 6:6 0 5
9 Borussia Mönchengladbach 4 1 2 1 5:5 0 5
10 VfL Wolfsburg 4 1 2 1 2:5 -3 5
11 SV Werder Bremen 4 1 1 2 7:7 0 4
12 1. FSV Mainz 05 4 1 1 2 4:5 -1 4
13 Bayer 04 Leverkusen 4 1 1 2 4:6 -2 4
14 Greuther Fürth 4 1 1 2 2:6 -4 4
15 Hamburger SV 4 1 0 3 5:8 -3 3
16 1899 Hoffenheim 4 1 0 3 7:12 -5 3 Play-offs
17 VfB Stuttgart 4 0 2 2 3:9 -6 2 Relegation
18 FC Augsburg 4 0 1 3 1:7 -6 1 Relegation

 

Table from the Official Bundesliga Site

Article originally written @ Football Fan Cast

Bundesliga Review – Derby excitement tempered by Pezzoni incident By Archie Rhind-Tutt

 

Derbies – they are part of what makes not just the Bundesliga but football in general great. It’s there where all of the passion is poured out onto the pitch by both fans and players. This weekend the Bundesliga had no less than four of them on show. Not all of them were necessarily local – Bayern Munich and Stuttgart for instance are 136 miles apart.

The pair nevertheless make up the Southern derby (not to be confused with Nuremberg v Fürth which is the South derby). With Borussia Dortmund drawing with Nuremberg on Saturday, it was a great opportunity for Bayern to take an early lead over the Champions. They did just that, but not before Stuttgart were made to realise that Bayern are like the Incredible Hulk – you wouldn’t like them when they’re angry.

The Swabians hit the bar early on and then took the lead through Martin Harnik’s superb volley on 25 minutes. By half time, Stuttgart were trailing by two after Müller, Kroos and most spectacularly Luiz Gustavo, gave the Bavarians the lead their fans expected. In the second half, it continued with Müller (again), Mandzukic and Schweinsteiger ensuring last year’s runners up were 6-1 up just six minutes after half time. That’s how it stayed but there was still time for Vedad Ibisevic to be sent off, completing a bad start in the Bundesliga for the Bosnian after last week’s horrible miss.

Perhaps not for the last time this season though, Bayern went to the top of the Bundesliga. Still, they weren’t the only side to enjoy a Sunday roast. For the Niedersachsen (Lower Saxony) derby was more like the demolition derby as Hannover thumped Wolfsburg at the VW Arena.

This in itself was a surprise. After all, Hannover hadn’t won in Wolfsburg since 2006 and they weren’t great on the road last year, picking up just two away wins all season. The Wolves have also been tipped to do well this season and were expected to build on last weekend’s win at Stuttgart.

Still, Hannover are not a side to be underestimated, as they showed. Their star was Szabolcs Huszti. The Hungarian, who returned to the club after three years at Zenit St. Petersburg, set up all four goals for “The 96.” Karim Haggui and Artur Sobiech made it 2-0 before the break. In the second half, Leon Andreasen and Sobiech completed a fantastic day for Mirko Slomka’s men. Wolfsburg also had substitute Robin Knoche sent off in the second half and it was unsurprising when coach Felix Magath apologized to the fans after his side’s tame performance. After all, the Lower Saxony bragging rights were firmly with Hannover.

It wasn’t as clear cut in the Niederrhein (Lower Rhine) derby as Fortuna Düsseldorf and Borussia Mönchengladbach renewed rivalries in the Bundesliga for the first time in over 15 years. Yet neither was able to find a winner in a tight affair on Saturday evening. The match belied the ever entertaining nature of Fortuna Düsseldorf whilst for Gladbach, you can’t help but feel it was the sort of game they might have won, if they still had a certain Marco Reus. Still, the Foals look well set for the season, something which cannot be said of Hamburg.

HSV travelled to Werder Bremen in the Nordderby (North derby) but were outclassed for a second week running. With new signing Rafael van der Vaart watching on having returned from Spurs, Werder picked up from their encouraging performance at the Champions on the opening night of the season. Aaron Hunt had one penalty saved by René Adler, a definite positive for Hamburg in the new season. However, Adler was beaten by a second Hunt penalty in the second half and then by a Nils Petersen strike, ensuring that Werder and Hamburg were looking in different directions going into the international break. BILD even questioned after the result whether van der Vaart’s contract extends into the 2.Bundesliga – a cheeky and slightly premature jibe. Time is on their side but HSV’s start has been far from inspiring. Patience is thin on the ground with fans, as it is with many supporters these days.  Passion runs high which is what makes derby matches and indeed what made this weekend’s Bundesliga matches special.

However, we must be careful, especially after what happened to Kevin Pezzoni this week. Pezzoni was a player at another big club who have been going through hard times, that being Cologne who were relegated from the Bundesliga just a few months ago. He cancelled his contract this week after being threatened outside his home by a group of angry Cologne fans – an appalling development. So while fans displeasure at results is understandable, the Pezzoni incident certainly helped to put into context where football’s boundaries for passion lie.

For more on the Bundesliga, follow @archiert1 on Twitter

Matchday 2 Results:

Mainz 0-1 Fürth

Bayer Leverkusen 2-0 Freiburg

Hoffenheim 0-4 Eintracht Frankfurt

Nuremberg 1-1 Borussia Dortmund

Schalke 3-1 Augsburg

Werder Bremen 2-0 Hamburg

Fortuna Düsseldorf 0-0 Gladbach

Wolfsburg 0-4 Hannover

Bayern Munich 6-1 Stuttgart

Table

Position Club Games W* D* L* F:A GD* Points
1 FC Bayern Munich 2 2 0 0 9:1 +8 6 CL*
2 Eintracht Frankfurt 2 2 0 0 6:1 +5 6 CL*
3 Hannover 96 2 1 1 0 6:2 +4 4 CL*
4 FC Schalke 04 2 1 1 0 5:3 +2 4 CL* Qual.
5 Fortuna Düsseldorf 2 1 1 0 2:0 +2 4 EL* Qual.
6 Borussia Dortmund 2 1 1 0 3:2 +1 4 EL* Qual.
7 1. FC Nürnberg 2 1 1 0 2:1 +1 4
7 Borussia Mönchengladbach 2 1 1 0 2:1 +1 4
9 Bayer 04 Leverkusen 2 1 0 1 3:2 +1 3
9 SV Werder Bremen 2 1 0 1 3:2 +1 3
11 SpVgg Greuther Fürth 2 1 0 1 1:3 -2 3
12 VfL Wolfsburg 2 1 0 1 1:4 -3 3
13 1. FSV Mainz 05 2 0 1 1 1:2 -1 1
14 Sport-Club Freiburg 2 0 1 1 1:3 -2 1
15 Hamburger SV 2 0 0 2 0:3 -3 0
16 FC Augsburg 2 0 0 2 1:5 -4 0 Relegation
17 1899 Hoffenheim 2 0 0 2 1:6 -5 0 Relegation
18 VfB Stuttgart 2 0 0 2 1:7 -6 0 Relegation

Table thanks to the Bundesliga Official Website

Article originally written on Football Fan Cast

HSV vs The Set Piece

This season, Hamburger SV have seen their net ripple on no fewer than 22 occasions as the result of an opposing set-play. Having shipped 50 goals in total in the 1.Bundesliga from their 28 fixtures to date, a figure of forty-four per cent of all goals conceded coming from the more formulaic aspects of the beautiful game is undoubtedly a concern. And yet the questions as to why this is the case remain.

Of those 22, four have come from the penalty spot, with a further three the result of direct free-kicks (with two of those epitomising some of the lack of good fortune afforded Hamburg by being deflected beyond the luckless Jaroslav Drobny). Discounting those seven; ten and come from corners that haven’t been cleared, with the remaining five from a failure to properly defend free-kicks.

In terms of their overall susceptibility, the recent clean sheet recorded against Kaiserslautern on Matchday 28 was only the fourth shutout this term. That is the joint-lowest total in the league, and came as their first in seven games. In that same time, ten of the 13 goals conceded have come from set-pieces of one sort or another. Yet the seven matches prior to the 1-0 win over Köln on Matchday 21 saw HSV breached just eight times; and only thrice via dead ball situations. Their profligacy is still further confused by the apparent recognition of it by Coach Thorsten Fink. After the 3-1 loss to Schalke on Matchday 25, Fink bemoaned his side’s lack of discipline over free-kicks – “we can’t afford to defend like that”, only to see his backline switch off again as Freiburg delivered an imaginative set-play third, to put Hamburg to the sword just a week later on.

Assessing where the fault may lie over the deficiency is difficult to pinpoint. And Fink is certainly not a coach with a reputation for blindness in this area – recall the dogmatic way his Basel side restricted the creativity of Manchester United in both of their Champions’ League matches. Yet it is hard to countenance the rudimentary way in which they appear to defend both corners and free-kicks.

Corners

Taking the game against Schalke on Matchday 25 as an example:

Employing a standard man-to-man marking system, and with men on both front and back posts, there is a tendency to leave the edge of the six-yard box and penalty spot free. This gives opposing forwards space to attack the ball, and freedom to move.

In addition, if the offensive side adopt a ‘blitz’ sort of grouping before the kick is taken, the defenders are drawn into circling them (left). This makes it harder to get in amongst them and disrupt their runs.

There is also an apparent inclination for ‘keeper Drobny to stay on his line. His rationale here is probably vested in a lack of belief in his defenders, given the relative inexperience. But in that sense it becomes self-fulfilling, with no dominant presence from the defensive standpoint.

As the corner-taker steps up, there is a naïve inclination for the man on back post to drift. The attackers burst at the same time, making runs tough for the defence to track. That combination then leaves the ‘keeper exposed, and rooted to his line as players converge towards him along the edge of the six yard box, and space is crowded.

Coupled with an in-swinging trajectory to the ball (all but one of the goals ceded by HSV from corners have come from in-swinging plays), and uncertainty ensues.

Such plays heavily on the youthful inexperience of the back four, once again highlighting the lack of a controlling hand.

Free Kicks

Taking the game against Bayern on Matchday 3 as an example:

Once again, Hamburg set up on a man-to-man marking basis, with a defensive line angled towards the back post to match the flight of an in-swinging ball.

With seven defenders against five forwards, HSV should have all the armoury they should need. However, a run from Holger Badstuber across the first spare man (indicated by the dotted red arrow) pulls the group towards the front edge of the six-yard box. As Daniel van Buyten (indicated by the yellow arrow) parallels the line of this run, his marker is blocked by Mario Gomez, causing a momentary hesitation. Van Buyten thus gains a yard of space, and rises unchallenged to head home.

What is also notable from the touchline view is how the HSV line fails to move back with their men, leaving two Bayern players unmarked at the far post for any rebounds. Yet more ill-disciplined defence, with players drawn towards the ball.

There is little doubt that the off-field issues surrounding the Club are weighing heavy, and a certain element appears to be manifesting on the pitch too. Combine that with an apparently inherent lack of discipline – most evident through Paolo Guerrero’s horrific foul on Sven Ulreich, which resulted in an eight-game ban – and the distractions for the playing staff are many.

However, as profligate as HSV have been at the back, they have proven themselves fairly well-adept at the other end; with eleven goals in their favour coming from set-pieces.

And Fink – forever with tactical acumen to the fore – has attempted to capitalise on both aspects that this has highlighted, telling the City’s Abendblett newspaper “If we concede goals from set-pieces, the team will pay, but if we score goals, then they will earn money”. That step echoes one he employed during his tenure with Red Bull Salzburg when he was faced with a similar deficiency.

Moreover, Fink’s team currently have a goal difference of -18, which is the worst they have ever had to endure at any stage during the 48-year history of Germany’s top flight, and ahead of Matchday 22’s game with Werder, it certainly appeared that the pressure was beginning to tell. As the 44-year old was interviewed by NDR television, he angered: “Players are not machines and sometimes they have off days. We were a solid unit before Christmas, but maybe some people thought after our draw with Monchengladbach that that was it”. Before going on to ominously opine: “Maybe some people have not fully understood”.

The game with ‘Lautern was probably precisely what HSV needed come Matchday 28, with the visitors having managed to go the entirety of the second half of last season without scoring from a corner. But with six games remaining, they find themselves removed from the relegation play-off berth only on goal difference. Their next game is at home to Leverkusen this weekend, where a response to the departure of Robin Dutt is expected from the away side. Then come the proverbial ‘six-pointers’, with games away to both Nürnberg and Augsburg sandwiching a home tie with Mainz. 59 per cent of their victories so far have come on the road, and they will need that form to be confirmed to survive. But it can certainly still be considered that their destiny is in their own hands: whether that is a positive or not may well depend on Fink garnering more of a solidity to his defence, and the way in which they occupy their own space against the appropriately-monikered ‘dead-ball’ situation.

The Bundesliga Show Episode 36 – HSV get their man & lets talk 2.Bundesliga

**Podcast announcement – This pod was recorded just hours before HSV appointed Thorsten Fink as new manager **

This week on The Bundesliga Show, Jon Hartley and Terry Duffelen chat over the protracted search for a new coach at Hamburg and Thorsten Fink’s suitability for the job.

Also in the show an interview with Richard Montague from Football Radar about what has been happening in the 2.Bundesliga so far this season.

 

The Bundesliga Show Episode 36 – HSV get their man & lets talk 2.Bundesliga by soundoffootball

The Bundesliga Show Episode 34 – No Huub for HSV & Bayern’s Champions League Triumph

** Warning – Podcast recorded before Wednesday Champions League matches **

Terry Duffelen and Jon Hartley, run through the appointment of Huub Stevens at Schalke, and that he wasn’t given the job at HSV. What does it mean for these clubs, before they play each other this weekend. There is also a chat about the Bundesliga action from Matchday 7, plus an interview with James Thorogood from Bundesliga.com and The Munich Times on Bayern Munich versus Manchester City.

The Bundesliga Show Episode 34 – No Huub for HSV & Bayern’s Champions League Triumph by soundoffootball