The lit evenings at Hamburger SV used to be a real sight to behold. Those who fought for a ticket in the VIP area of Volkspark, and those who actually made them were shown sights of social entertainment value, according to the study’s unofficial title: Notes of the Hanseatic Elite.
Senior industrialists held their breaths in awe as the rather short Uwe Seeler walked past the VIP box, aperitif-tasting actors from Germany imitated their Hollywood colleagues, and in thick cigar smoke, serious businessmen sometimes dealt with the big names of the red-light district . Magath, Hrubesch, van der Vaart and Olich, and later Van Nistelrooy and Petrich did the rest on the field.
In Hamburg, some talk about a “historic opportunity” before the cup semi-final
Because HSV often wins at the end, the attraction has increased in line with ticket prices, which in turn made it possible to transfer massive single players…etc.
Such stories have recently been heard so frequently in the Hanseatic city that, after years of starvation, HSV is set to be highlighted at another sporting event this Tuesday, with some even talking about a “historic opportunity”. Indeed, the DFB Cup semi-final against first-division team Freiburg is a great thing for everyone who sticks to the championship. Gamers are happy that most of them will experience a completely sold out Volkspark for the first time after a number of ghost games and little public interest lately. Fans are glad there hasn’t been much to enjoy lately.
Hamburg club officials are wringing their hands. The special income from the cup was not planned and should now be easily enough to take on a winger and midfielder for the new season, for example, with the help of perhaps, perhaps finally, a return to the Bundesliga will be possible. Then, as it currently appears, five years in the second division, HSV worked tirelessly to sink his legend into the Hamburg Binnallister.
“We are nominally the competitor,” HSV coach Tim Walter said.
In the field of remaining participants, HSV is the only club allowed to display the DFB Cup in its own club museum, even in triplicate. But in the match against Freiburg, they are “nominally the contender”, as HSV coach Tim Walter emphasized again on Monday. External terms were apt, because little Freiburg is currently higher in the table than the glorified HSV League, where one would probably be happy this season if the disappointing second division tables from previous years could be repeated.
Which brings us to one of the big problems for everyone working in contemporary HSV: dangerous standards lurk everywhere, and the most dangerous thing is to compare with yourself. Because a club that used to win trophies and was considered undelegated for decades was always under threat, they ended their mediocre second-division season with the historically worst place in the table. Concretely, this means from HSV’s point of view: the current sixth place in the table would be historically bad.
Hamburg’s chances of promotion are now theoretical in nature, which is why a positive cup experience is of great importance. And HSV is quite capable of causing a surprise. On a good day, Walter’s team plays decent attacking football, and on previous cup evenings they can count on the dramaturgy: overtime, penalty shootouts, HSV victory – this was the previous rounds against Karlsruhe, Cologne and Nuremberg.
In the traditional club, they take pride in their own story by way of “development”
Regardless, the traditional club appears to have an almost unlimited belief in the story of the “development path” in which HSV has been, according to HSV information, for at least two years. It’s a story that only stands in part to verify important facts, because only three or four regular players have been transferred from the previous season to the current one and rows of player photos have been exchanged on the club’s home page. The term “reconstruction” has become well established in the industry for such an approach.
In addition, the young team that is always talked about in the management of the club is more than a young bank. Only midfielder Ludovit Reis, 21, and truly superb defender Mario Voskovic, 20, have been able to establish themselves in primary midfield strategist Jonas Meffert or striker Robert Glatzel.
The opponent in the Cup Freiburg symbolizes a lot what HSV is lacking
Hamburg sporting director Jonas Boldt and sporting director Michael Motzel continue to spend a lot of money on this squad. However, it was not so much, as HSV is probably the only club in professional German football that has managed to do worse on the unofficial budget table than it has on the real one for almost ten years. So the result is basically the opposite compared to Freiburg. “This club symbolizes stability and continuity,” HS coach Walter praised. On the other hand, it meant a serious appreciation for the hard work in development with the trophy opponent. On the other hand, Walter also seemed like an employee who would like to see this corporate culture implemented at HSV, with him in a management position.
In any case, it’s not that athletic director Boldt and his colleagues at HSV don’t have any good ideas, they just opt for a quirky narrative of their own. And if the story isn’t true, there is a big risk in Hamburg that at the end of the season, “well-meaning” will turn out to be the opposite of “well done”. So Boldt’s work will soon be evaluated in the club’s committees, and the outcome must also depend on whether coach Walter hopes the work can continue.
What will definitely help them: if the HSV team manages to make their last exit, to the cup final in Berlin.