Nicknames: HSV (Initials of the Club), Die Rothosen (The Red Shorts), Der Dinosaurier (The Dinosaur)
Founded: 29 September 1887
Club colours: Blue, White, Black
Primary Rivals: St Pauli, Werder Bremen, FC Bayern München
Fan Friendship: Rangers, Hannover 96, Arminia Bielefeld
· Bundesliga Champion (3): 1978-79, 1981-82, 1982-83
· DFB Cup Winner (3): 1962-63, 1975-76, 1986-87
Stadium: Imtech Arena (opened: 1999, capacity: 57,439)
· Bundesliga: 16th (27 pts) beat Spvgg Greuther Fürth in the play-off on away goals (1-1)
· DFB Pokal: Quarter-final defeat to FC Bayern München 5-0
Top Goal Scorer: Pierre-Michel Lasogga (13)
2013-14 Season Summary
Hamburg are one of the most traditional clubs in the Bundesliga with a great history and culture. Despite not having recent success, they are still fervently supported by a huge fan base. Last season saw their nadir as they scraped survival by the skin of their teeth in a relegation play-off win over Spvgg Greuther Fürth, on away goals.
Things can’t get much worse for Hamburg. They have hit rock bottom as they gloomily peered into 2.Bundesliga for the first ever time. Yet somehow they survived. With the passing of HSV Plus this summer, the professional football division is now a public limited company. They can now sell 49.9% of their shares while remaining true to the 50+1 ruling and the majority of shares lying with the fans. A restructuring of the board has taken place with Dietmar Beiersdorfer the new CEO and Bernhard Peters the new sporting director, while Klaus-Michael Kühne’s millions continue to assist the club. Fans will hope the new board line-up will be more competent and responsible in handling the club, as they look to put their abysmal performance of last season firmly in the past.
As stated, Hamburg are one of the most traditional clubs in Germany. But they needed to move with modern times if they wanted to compete in the higher echelons of the Bundesliga again. The economic movement of the club to process more capital for the squad and club to be developed from the passing of HSV Plus is the start of a new direction for HSV. The club is in transition from players deemed surplus to requirements after their shocking performances last season, and the addition of players Mirko Slomka wants to build his squad around this coming season. Expect a much more prudent, organised team this campaign based around hard-working, determined players such as new acquisition Valon Behrami. HSV will look for opportunities to attack via the counter where new signing Nicolai Müller can thrive, as well as the returning Maximilian Beister following his long injury absence. Target man Pierre-Michel Lasogga will aim to capitalise on chances within the penalty area while the team has the option to play long ball knowing Lasogga can also hold-up play.
The long ball could be identified as a Plan B but with the threat of Lasogga you play to the skills of the players available. More likely is a Plan B with a move from a 4-2-3-1 to a 4-4-2 with two strikers deployed, especially if they are looking to get back into a match.
Strengths and Weaknesses
Lasogga will be even more important this season than last after the departure of instrumental midfielder Hakan Çalhanoğlu. His robust figure will be a key weapon for Hamburg going forward. Another strength could be the emergence of the talented youngster Kerem Demirbay, who may just eye the vacant role Çalhanoğlu has left.
The weakness for Hamburg is defensively. Yet there are reasons to be optimistic. A pre-season under Slomka will mean they have had time to organise themselves as a collective unit. New left back Matthias Ostrzolek is as capable defending as he is attacking. Jonathan Tah is one promising defender and they have secured the services of Johan Djourou permanently from Arsenal. His consistency must improve though, alongside goalkeeper René Adler, if Hamburg are to keep clean sheets this season.
Takeaway from 2013-14
Last season was a horror show. Lessons need to be learned to make sure they are not in a similarly dreadful position again. Move on and strive for change with a fresh direction starting with this season.
Hamburg are the only club to have played in every Bundesliga season, as their proud clock shows at the Imtech Arena. Last season was the closest the clock got to stopping though.
This season should be seen as a base foundation of a new chapter in the club. Cement a mid-table position with a few noticeable victories over rivals and not gifting points away to lower placed teams will be seen as a positive season for HSV to build upon.
Mirko Slomka doesn’t set pulses racing or entice many fans of glorious football. What he brings is a pragmatic, organised approach and seeks to get the best out of the resources he has. Right now, he is the type of coach HSV need. Bringing stability to the club will be seen as a success. But in this city, the fans will want results and upward trajectory in the table from the start of the season. If the pressure rises as results slip, Slomka could be out of the door quickly.
Odds to win league:
· Number of Matches won by 2 or more goals: 5
· Number of Matches won by 1 goal: 2
· Number of Matches drawn: 6
· Number of Matches lost by 1 goal: 7
· Number of Matches lost by 2 or more goals: 14
· Number of matches in which a lead was blown, resulting in loss: 3
· Number of matches in which a lead was blown, resulting in draw: 1
· Number of matches in which a deficit was overcome to earn a draw: 5
· Number of matches in which a deficit was overcome to earn victory: 1
Top Scorers in 2013-14: Pierre-Michel Lasogga (13) Hakan Çalhanoğlu (11) Rafael van der Vaart (7)
Five-Year Record: 16, 7, 15, 8 , 7
Q & A with a club fan: Daniel Busch @dan_bu
Who to keep an eye out for?
I think Matthias Ostrzolek, Valon Behrami and Nicolai Müller are good signings and will really improve the team. Keep an eye out for them and see what they can do for HSV.
Pierre-Michel Lasogga, especially after signing permanently.
Player you’d happily drive to another club?
Marcell Jansen as there’s already Ostrzolek to replace him and his contract is up next year. Others are Per Ciljan Skjelbred, Slobodan Rajković, Gojko Kačar and Artjoms Rudņevs.
Advice you’d give your manager?
He has to try to be more confident and versatile in his approach than he was at Hannover 96. Needs a plan B when other teams are sitting deep.
Where will you finish?
Somewhere between 7th and 12th.
Will lessons be learnt from last season and move forward this campaign?
I think in signing Behrami they addressed a key problem in the squad. He’ll add balance like no other player has since Nigel de Jong did. HSV Plus being approved and Beiersdorfer joining (along with Peters and most likely Knäbel) will lay the foundation for a promising future.
· 23 Köln (A)
· 30 SC Paderborn (H)
· 14 Hannover 96 (A)
· 20 FC Bayern München (H)
· 24 Borussia Mönchengladbach (A)
· 28 Eintracht Frankfurt (H)
· 04 Borussia Dortmund (A)
· 18 1899 Hoffenheim (H)
· 25 Hertha BSC (A)
· 01 Bayer Leverkusen (H)
· 08 VfL Wolfsburg (A)
· 22 Werder Bremen (H)
· 29 FC Augsburg (A)
· 06 FSV Mainz 05 (H)
· 13 SC Freiburg (A)
· 16 VfB Stuttgart (H)
· 20 Schalke 04 (A)
· 31 Köln (H)
· 03 SC Paderborn (A)
· 07 Hannover 96 (H)
· 14 FC Bayern München (A)
· 22 Borussia Mönchengladbach (H)
· 28 Eintracht Frankfurt (A)
· 07 Borussia Dortmund (H)
· 14 1899 Hoffenheim (A)
· 21 Hertha BSC (H)
· 04 Bayern Leverkusen (A)
· 11 VfL Wolfsburg (H)
· 18 Werder Bremen (A)
· 25 FC Augsburg (H)
· 02 FSV Mainz 05 (A)
· 09 SC Freiburg (H)
· 16 VfB Stuttgart (A)
· 23 Schalke 04 (H)
Crucial Schedule Stretch:
Hamburg’s expectations for the season could be decided in the run up to the winter break. In mid-November they play rivals Werder Bremen at home and then have three winnable matches before a home tie with Stuttgart they would be confident in winning also. Gaining ten points from a possible 15 here would set them up on a good platform for the Ruckründe. If not then it may be a long winter in Germany’s north city.
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