Well, that sucked. This team is… very frustrating. Most everyone finds their team to be frustrating, so I’m not gonna just complain about it too much. Let’s instead delve into what is happening in this team.
A lot of great comments on the most recent thread – apologies for being a poor blogger. If anyone is interested in writing any posts, feel free to! I have run into a wall of just constantly being busy and even missing some games.
That being said, I did see the Schalke game. It was torturous of HSV to go ahead early and having the dreams of Europe dancing in our heads. But after that, it was the same old same old of how Hamburg has run under Fink. Let’s look at the common denominators of his tactics:
I feel like changing the names of Bayern Munich and Hamburg to those various meats actually makes the headline less ridiculous. In reality:
Bayern 9, Hamburg 2.
The amount of times I’ve even played a competetive FIFA match that have reached nine goals are low. How the HELL DID THIS HAPPEN
Ok, let’s take a big breath here. Bayern has repeatedly shamed Hamburg (especially in Munich) over the past few years, so I guess this wasn’t entirely out of the question. And Bayern is one of the top two or three (at least!) teams in the world right now. But still, nine goals? NINE? Giving up five goals is embarrassing. Giving up four would be pretty bad too. But then you give up both five and four goals in the same match!
I didn’t get to watch the game, but all of the highlights seemed to show that Hamburg had 1) Been told to clog passing lanes rather than close down the ball handler, and then 2) this was compounded by being more and more terrified throughout the game. Bayern have an insane attack, with every player having technical ability, good passing and vision, and pace. This makes it very difficult to defend against them, and I guess Fink decided that he wanted to close down passing lanes more than anything in the first half. This, however, lead to an almost surprised looking Bayern team finding themselves in acres of space in midfield, with absolutely nobody closing them down. Did I mention that all of Bayern’s players are also good at shooting from distance?
This meant that Shaquiri could shoot with nobody around him, from the direct middle of the park, and just pick a corner of the net out. Anyway, that’s what I was able to gather, but I didn’t watch the whole game, and I don’t intend to.
If nothing else, this game shows how not-ready Hamburg are for the champions league. Remember when HSV was looking like they might finish top four? Honestly, let’s hope they don’t, even if I still think the Europa League might be a decent speed for them to develop in. Even then, quick thinking teams that can actually shoot AND finish (remember, Hamburg were already first in the league in shots allowed per game) then things can go south quickly.
Other people’s thoughts?
HSV put in a relatively decent performance against Stuttgart, with a very notable performance by Rene Adler, and an absolute screamer of a volley by Artjoms Rudnevs that confirmed Hamburg’s 1-0 victory.
With the victory, HSV find themselves in a Europa League spot, and surprisingly enough just one point out of the final Champions League spot. It’s been a bit of a weird year in the Bundesliga, with Bayern breaking every record available but then a slew of parity behind (except for the god awful Fürth). So, being one point behind Schalke for the 4th CL spot is great, but that doesn’t mean that Hamburg are high and dry away from a slew of other mid-table teams. Realistically, Hamburg are not good enough for the Champions League yet. I would much rather them get a Europa League spot and get some more experience as a team.
We also had a Twitter discussion about what the team, should it make a European spot, should purchase in terms of positional. Thoughts?
Hamburg crumbled like a burger before being cooked – raw and mushily off the plate of Hannover, and splattered on the ground forming the face of Rene Adler.
That being said, the scoreline (5-1) was WAY worse than it needed to be. Mostly, because it could have been like 6-3 or 7-4 or something like that, if not for some poor finishing by both teams combined with some really terrific saves from Zieler.
Obviously the defense had an awful game, and Rajkovic couldn’t mark to save his life, but man did Rene Adler have a real stinker. He’s entitled to one, I guess, but this was really a bad one, and I don’t just mean a bad one in comparison to his otherwise stellar season.
The offense played pretty well, especially Van der Vaart and Badelj, but the goals didn’t hit the back of the net, and with the defense and goalkeeper the way they were, this created a really sloppy scoreline. But, with any sort of maturation progress, sometimes you need to fall on your ass to know how to get up.
Hugely Important Victory
Hamburg registered a tight, fairly equal victory over fellow Europe-hopefuls Borussia Mönchengladbach via an absolute rocket from the talented left foot of Rafael Van der Vaart. Other than that, it was a tale of two halves – Hamburg dominated in the first, BMG faired much better in the second. Hamburg cemented 6th place, tied for 5th on points with Hamburg, and finish the weekend three points out of a tie for the final champions league spot. With hopes for Europe no longer being easily dismissed as ‘never gonna happen’, Fink thundered this quote about the situation: “We are still not ready for Europe.”
What else needs to be said? Fink’s countering of Klopp’s tactics are fantastic with his high pressuring of their centerbacks so they cannot build out of the back, and the attacking-minded approach that many teams do not have the courage to try.
Now, all of the sudden, Hamburg are an up and coming team with players being mentioned for national teams left and right (possibly Löw should look at Dennis Diekmeier, one article said). Last week it was all about how HSV were under performing and had spent too much money, this week it was about how brilliant their future looks. Go figure.
Hamburg blew a nice chance to move up to 5th place by losing at home, 2-0, to Armin Veh’s swashbuckling Frankfurt. Hamburg had about a million chances to at least get one back, especially in the second half, but ultimately a nice performance by Kevin Trapp and some sloppy defending against new boy Lakic meant Hamburg would be getting zero points from this one.
My question for this week is: what do people think of the 4-4-2 diamond vs. the 4-2-3-1 that was deployed second half? Or another formation on people’s minds?
I personally think they could switch it up based off of the opponent – I didn’t like a 4-4-2 against a team that was going to sit back and then quickly defend because it leaves Badelj as the last midfielder to try and make up a lot of ground – I think he works well as the only DM for passing because he can dictate the play well from back there, but defensively he is much better with a partner that can help him because of his severe lack of pace.
Hamburg against Bremen is often an exciting dual, but this one was particularly crazy! Two red cards, several controversial referee decisions and five goals all packed into ninety minutes of delicious Hamburg victory. Heung Min Son had a delightful game (his Traumtor aided by a shockingly bad Selassie and a very mediocre Mielitz), and Jansen was quite active, but let’s all take a moment to congratulate Dennis Aogo on his first goal for Hamburg after 117 appearances. Not only that – but after this incredibly difficult season for him, and following some pretty poor performances, he really put in a shining all around game when the team really needed it.
I’ll be back with player ratings and all that jazz later. For now air your thoughts below! Nur der HSV!
Just when I really start to get annoyed by this Fink era Hamburg side, and right whenever I really start to question whether or not Fink can be realistically trusted to guide this side to European football in the coming years, this team kicks it up a notch and pulls me back on Fink’s side. This weekend’s game was a microcosm of that – the team ran out for the first half looking entirely unprepared for a Bundesliga match. Everything looked too quick for them, they had no idea how to pass, and no idea how to retain possession. Tolgay Arslan looked entirely overwhelmed, and did one of his frustrated tackles that could very well have lead to a red card, and was rightfully substituted in the first half. Not to mention that shortly after that, Michael Mancienne went down with an injury, and so Fink had to use two of his three subs just in the opening 45 minutes.
Leverkusen is Good
A game which inspired an awful headline for this blog can only have been equally as awful. A 3-0 drubbing by a talented and organized Leverkusen side is not exactly embarrassing, but it’s very close to it. Stefan Kießling and Andre Schürrle each gave Hamburg a nightmare they won’t soon forget, and their combination (along with some help from Gonzalo Castro) scored or assisted all three goals.
Hamburg were repeatedly ripped apart on defense, and Heiko Westermann flatly had an awful game, including gifting Kießling the third goal. I’ve made it clear that I love a 4-3-3 (or 4-3-1-2) formation, and a brilliant 4-3-3 is what Hyppia and Lewandowski use. It seemed like HSV had never seen such a thing before, and looked entirely unprepared to be honest. Leaving Badelj as essentially the only holding midfielder against three forwards was something our beloved Croat could only muster for so long before looking visibly gassed. Rudnevs did manage to hit a decent shot from distance early on and then later hit the post on a fine header, and Son looked dangerous from a couple of shots from distance as well, but other than that there wasn’t a ton of offense going on. Aogo somehow managed to miss a goal from like five feet after Rudnevs’ post shot, and was in general horrible (remember that terrible backpass early on that Schürrle could only hit the post on?). Lam looked overpowered against a better crop of players, and Skjelbred and Diekmeier were equally as listless. Read the rest of this entry »