Hotdogs With More MustardBy: ryan_s | September 16th, 2012
BBQ Battle Ends With a Spicy Finish
The most delicious game of the year (Hamburgers vs. Frankfurters) was an exciting one – the return of Rafael Van der Vaart to the Bundesliga and a controversial red card for Petr Jiracek just adding to this relishing encounter. Neither side had a defense that looked in any way organized or convincing, and both sides missed a couple of excellent opportunities in the second half. HSV could have completed a stunning comeback through Dennis Diekmeier, but at the end of the day Frankfurt were deserved victors all and all. They won 55% of their tackles, had over 60% of the ball, and completed 86% of their passes as compared to just 72% for HSV.
The game started in the poorest way possible for die Rothosen, as their general sloppiness and inability to pass lead to two goals within the first twenty minutes. Jefferey Bruma lost the ball in his own half to Tkashi Inui, who made a slaloming run past an inept Michael Mancienne to curl home past Adler for the first goal. A few minutes later it was a corner skipped into the box that somehow popped up for the talented Olivier Occean, who made no mistake to make it 2-0. Things were looking to get embarrassing for “the unrelegateables”.
But after the second goal, HSV slowly began to wake up. A couple of half chances here and there eventually lead to a corner at the end of the half. The industrious Van der Vaart sent in a corner to the far post which found Atrjoms Rudnevs, who then sent it back across goal to find a wide open Heiko Westermann. 2-1, just like that. And suddenly HSV were back in the game.
Not a couple minutes later, though, a hammer blow for the Hamburgers. Petr Jiracek went in for a tackle that was a bit rash but nothing any worse than he had been doing the whole game, and received a straight red from head referee Wolfgang Stark. Coach Thorsten Fink was so incredulous that he even was sent to the stands for the second half after arguing, but it didn’t change the ruling on the field – not only were Hamburg down a goal, they were now down a man.
The second half began the same as the first – Frankfurt were combining very well and HSV had no answers. In the 52nd minute Stefan Aigner was played in with a little chip pass over fill-in Hamburg leftback Zhi Gin Lam, and he beautifully lobbed it over the oncoming Adler. Again, it was looking as if this could quickly turn in to a give goal game for Frankfurt.
But just like before when it looked like HSV were ready to be buried, they came back with a lot more vim and vigor than had been shown before. Artjoms Rudnevs and Heung Min Son both shot straight at the goalie in one-on-one situations against Frankfurt’s keeper Kevin Trapp, and Van der Vaart continued to pull the strings in midfield (even as he continued to drop further and further back in order to do so). Eventually, a deserved second goal finally came. Van der Vaart dispossessed a Frankfurter defender, attempted to slide it through to an offsides Rudnevs, but the ball deflected off of a Frankfurt player and right into the oncoming Son. This time Son finished his one-on-one by rounding the keeper and slotting home with confidence. 3-2 in the 63rd minute.
Frankfurt had a couple of chances to finish things off, but Rene Adler stayed strong throughout, even as he was passing quite poorly out of the back. The moment of the game came in the 73rd minute, though, as right back Dennis Diekmeier was played in alone in front of Trapp. His attempt ended up being directly at the Frankfurt goalie, though, and that ended up being the best either side would really see for the rest of the game. At the end of the day, Frankfurt were deserved victors.
Hamburg can take a number of positives away from this game – for 20 minutes of each half they were an attacking force to be reckoned with, and Van der Vaart played a very solid game. However, many concerns remain. The defense looks very poor, the passing at times is atrocious, and Petr Jiracek seems quite rash and at times gives the ball away too easily. The biggest concern, though, is the potential of going into week seven with a total of zero points. Any amount of points against Dortmund this coming weekend would be extremely fortunate. Mönchengladbach seem to have their faults this year but would still be favored to win, as would Hannover in the week after that. There are positive signs of growth, finally. But three weeks against top teams isn’t going to do these Burgers any favors.
Adler – 6.5 – Made a couple of fantastic saves to keep the scoreline where it was, but was very poor in passing out of the back (5 for 21) and did allow three goals. Not that he could have done a whole lot for any of them.
Lam – 5.5 – Did a halfway decent job filling in for Aogo, but really wasn’t anything special. Defended well at times and used his pace to make up for the times that he was beaten by skill, but was lobbed over his short head in leading up to the third goal. Not a bad option there.
Bruma – 5.0 – Made some vital stops here and there, but gifted away possession before the first goal and in general didn’t add a lot in buildup play or on free kicks.
Westermann – 5.5 – Got a somewhat fortuitous goal (as nobody was around him) but otherwise had many defensive problems and was drawn out of position a number of times. At one point just sprinted straight into a Frankfurt player like a bad FIFA 12 player.
Mancienne – 4.0 – HSV looked terrible for his half hour on the pitch, and were markedly improved thereafter. Was completely and unceremoniously burned on the first goal, even if he should have had help from Badelj.
Badelj – 5.5 – Did well to create space at times, but didn’t help out too much defensively and was another culprit of HSV getting overrun with lost 50/50 duals. Had some decent passes but wasn’t involved as much as you’d expect a DM under Fink.
Jiracek – 3.0 – Had a number of atrocious, clearly out of anger tackles before the one that saw him get a straight red (which very was harsh, but all in all could have been a second yellow given his other tackles before). Has a tendency to just sit on the ball and try and out muscle people rather than pass, which leads to him getting dispossessed in dangerous areas. Had a moment or two in offense, but needs make better decisions.
Jansen – 5.5 – Was constantly full of running, and had his moments of being able to use his size and technical ability to get through defenders, but ended up not being directly involved with much that was to write home about offensively. The kind of game you sort of expect from him these days.
Son – 6.0 – Missed a one-on-one chance and then made a one-on-one chance. I guess 1/2 isn’t terrible. Helped out defensively and was tidier in possession than usual.
Van der Vaart – 7.0 – The return of the messiah wasn’t a spectacular one, but it was a very good one. Forced a great save out of Trapp early on off a free kick, and it was his won dual and assist that created the second goal. Also took the corner that lead to the first. Outran everyone on the pitch and continued to drop further back in order to help control possession as the game wore on. Wanted to lead.
Rudnevs – 5.5 – Nicely assisted the first goal by heading back across goal to Westermann, but ran offsides on counter attacks when he really didn’t need to and missed a one-on-one with the goalie. A much more physically talented player than Berg, but is still adapting to HSV and the Bundesliga.
Diekmeier – 5.5 – Added a lot of energy to the right side once he came on to replace Mancienne in the 33rd minute and Bruma slid back to CB. Had a couple of very nice runs that didn’t quite lead to anything, and then popped up in front of goal in the 73rd minute – only to shoot right at the keeper. Could have been a hero.
Beister – 3.5 – Had some time on the pitch at the end of the game, but was absolutely nowhere to be found for most of it.
Ilicevic – N/A – Didn’t have a whole lot of time to do anything, except I guess pick up a yellow card.
Fink continues to pick his players on a ‘defense first’ basis – i.e. Jansen, Son and Bruma (at RB) because they are all strong defenders in comparison to Ilicevic, Beister and to some extent Diekmeier. What I think needs to be brought to his attention is that fielding a defensive lineup that isn’t great at keeping possession means that you end up defending a whole lot more, and that the opposition therefore can throw up their fullbacks in numbers since they aren’t as worried about Bruma charging up the field on a counter. One of the ways that Philipp Lahm plays ‘defense’ is by positioning himself fairly high on the pitch and getting involved in attack – if the opposing LB and LM need to help defend, they won’t be helping out in attack, in other words. Just a thought.