Hamburg and Hecking miss Bundesliga relegation

AWhen the groundbreaking decisions for the upcoming second division season were made a good year ago, Hamburg SV received applause in turn. Dieter Hecking, 55, came as a well-known coach, Jonas Boldt had made a name for himself as sports director at Bayer 04 Leverkusen. The team seemed well mixed from professionals with missions in the Bundesliga and those who knew the second division.

Hunt, Jatta, Leibold and Harnik, plus Kittel, Fein, Kinsombi and Dudziak: Only VfB Stuttgart had a nobler squad. Lewis Holtby and Pierre-Michel Lasogga had also left, names and faces that stood for failed and unsuccessful high-price policies. Bernd Hoffmann, the shrewd chairman of the board, who understood the coach heavyweight, sat even more: Hecking respected. Whatever helps if Hoffmann actually adheres to leaving the sporting area publicly uncommented.

The fact that there were a lot of new management personnel again because coach Hannes Wolf and sports director Ralf Becker had been fired after fourth place in the 2018/19 season, went down, so hopeful were the Hamburgers that they finally found the right person in a responsible position. When HSV was first after eleven games and 24 points, some of which were well played out, the whole thing seemed as coherent as rarely in the past ten years. The expectations here are not that big anymore. Quiet pole Hecking would fix it, definitely this season! Hamburg loved this coach in late summer 2019. And the trainer felt comfortable. 30 of 69 possible points from the following 23 games have been added. The stable ascent construction became a block tower like the one built by three-year-olds.

13 trainers since 2010

Now there is no stone on the other. Or? In fact, the traditional club is in a tight spot again. Expressly, no more guilty parties are to be sought and found, no individuals who are then chased by the court. That’s what Boldt stands for. He wants to get away from hiring and firing the coaches within a year – the HSV has worn 13 coaches since 2010. The usual reflex should be absent this time, and therefore Hecking has the chance to continue his work despite the embarrassment on Sunday. Whatever he wants. “I’m not a fickle person,” he said when he confidently found words for the 1: 5 against SV Sandhausen and his role in this so disappointing 2019/20 series: “We started as a whole and are now as a whole failed.”

Boldt had said that Hecking was his first point of contact. He stays with it. But does Boldt decide at all? Or Marcell Jansen? The president of HSV eV and chief controller of HSV Fußball AG has so far only said nothing – which does not have to be a good thing for Hecking and Boldt.

The question is: does consistency help, does turning away from the one-year trainer principle help when there is no conviction that the right person is on the bench? Continuity just for the sake of consistency cannot be a solution. Boldt, team planner Michael Mutzel and chief scout Claus Costa certainly made mistakes. The thin and weak central defense urgently needed reinforcements during the winter break. Unlike in the storm, where loan player Joel Pohjanpalo was the only ray of hope in the second half, Jordan Beyer did not help in the defense.

Overall, however, the Hecking leadership fulfilled many wishes. The coach was unable to stabilize the defense despite many changes – the five goals conceded on the last matchday and four last-minute goals showed where HSV wasted their promotion. One point from the last three games, ten points from the nine games since the restart: As a year ago, HSV slumped in the most important phase of the season. The team practically challenged goals against the Kielers and the Heidenheimers. It receded meter by meter. The burden of climbing had to be heavy.


As the Stuttgart sports director Sven Mislintat said at “Sport-Bild”: “If you work for VfB in the second division, and exactly the same applies to HSV, you can’t win, you can only lose. It feels like the relegation battle from the Bundesliga continues. ”Well formulated! This is exactly why the HSV chose pressure-resistant types. Hecking and his assistant Dirk Bremser in front. In the end, however, only Aaron Hunt and Pohjanpalo were up to the stress on the lawn. Where everyone pulled their heads in, they demanded the ball. That ended tragically against SV Sandhausen: Hunt faithfully delivered to Pohjanpalo, which the opponent saw through quickly. Concepts against deep teams? Tactical variations? Changes that sit, changes that are fruitful? Since the 2: 3 against VfB Stuttgart on May 28, Hecking has offered his team nothing more useful. The HSV played poorly and threw away the ascent in a way that all scoffers will have loved. Hard-boiled Hamburg fans clapped for Sandhausen on Sunday because they feared embarrassment against Werder in the event of relegation.

Despite the massive indebtedness, the Hamburg way should consist twice of advancing with comparatively expensive teams. Reduced earnings due to the corona pandemic and the signing departure of financier Klaus-Michael Kühne are forcing a new strategy. Favorites will be others. The HSV becomes the normal second division representative. Maybe that helps – or the next HSV trainer.

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