Tag Archives: Thorsten Fink

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 – 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

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