Stanky Beef BurgersBy: ryan_s | August 25th, 2012
Well, that sucked. Hanno Balitsch was the only member of either side to find the net, and that was after missing a sitter a few minutes before. René Adler was absolutely immense, and prevented HSV from going down earlier (point blank saves right before the half, and a few minutes after the half as an FCN player was through alone on goal).
The tactics were terrible. The defense wasn’t quite as bad as last year, but there were still too many moments of miscommunication. The goal was essentially a direct consequence of Michael Mancienne failing to mark/keep up with a Nürnberg player, who headed off the bar and then fell to the feet of Balitsch. Hamburg also ended up hitting the post twice (both via headers), and one that the FCN goalkeeper Schäfer made a really immense save on. Some might say that HSV were somewhat unfortunate not to get a draw out of this, but Nürnberg had plenty of opportunities of their own and deserved to win this one.
Offensively, especially before HSV conceded, Hamburg looked as if they’d never played on the same pitch together. Misunderstanding after misunderstanding, with the ball just rolling weakly out of bounds. Every through ball was collected easily by a Nürnberg defender. As the game wore on, more and more long balls were employed and crosses were generally the best idea that anyone had.
Tied at 0-0 in the 58th minute, defensive minded RW Jacopo Sala was to be subbed off. Makes sense, and everyone was expecting Maxi Beister to come on to inject some attacking flair to the side. Instead, who should come out but everyone’s Liebling, ROBERT TESCHE. WHY ROBERT TESCHE. He’s at best an extremely mediocre CM, what does he even give you more than Sala? What’s the point of this? Easily enough to predict, he did very little with his time on the pitch besides getting a yellow card. And misplace 5 passes about of 16.
Shortly thereafter, Nürnberg scored and HSV actually did pick up the pace a bit. Fink suddenly woke up from taking a quick snooze on the sideline and realized that Beister and Rudnevs should probably come on. They did, and immediately injected some creativity into the game – though neither really had it in them to be the difference maker either.
The one thing HSV do look pretty dangerous on is set pieces. Aogo had several good deliveries into the box, and Westermann came close a couple of times, including his glancing header that Schäfer made a wonderful save on. Jansen also hit the bar with a header later on, but it wasn’t exactly a stunning rocket. Anyway, let’s do some sad player ratings.
Adler: 9.0 – This may well be one of the higher ratings I’ve ever given someone, but he totally deserved it. Really, really impressive saves to keep things level, and made some somewhat tricky long shots look like the easiest thing in the world. Also distributed well, and was a constant source of passion and leadership. Gained a new fan today.
Aogo – 6.0 – Aogo gets some props because his freekicks were excellent today and because he was SO CLOSE to scoring with his right foot – just an FCN foot was in the way to knock it around the post. Was involved in a number of misunderstandings, and was caught up field a couple of times.
Mancienne – 4.5 – Was… OK, I guess, for large parts of the game, but was completely – COMPLETELY – missing on the goal, which was largely his fault. He also didn’t win enough of his duels. Showed the other side of him today – he’s small and not terribly physical for a CB.
Bruma – 5.5 – Bruma actually defended pretty well today, and won an enormous tally of duels. But his passing was awful and was nowhere to be found on offensive set pieces. Did his part, which is to be a big brute who wins tackles and can’t pass or dribble.
Diekmeier – 5.0 – As was commented before, just kind of ran around. Usually has pace to burn on anyone, but Esswein gave him a run for his money and therefore nullified his greatest asset. Amazingly had just 30 touches of the ball compared to Aogo’s 70, and only attempted 11 passes all game.
Westermann – 6.0 – Did his job, which is to tackle like crazy and be a force on set pieces. Unfortunate not to have scored, and tackled quite well. Also ran for his life and gave all for the time. Could have passed a bit better, but was far from the worst in completion percentage.
Skjelbred – 5.5 – Ehhh. That’s how I feel every time I watch him. Like, he doesn’t really do anything that bad, and he can keep the ball at his pretty well. But a lot of his passes get intercepted, and he’s just OK at defense. Had a moment or two that was pretty good, had a moment or two that wasn’t good. Ehhh.
Jansen – 6.0 – Hit the bar with a header and was the only starting attacker that looked like he belonged in the starting 11, but even that isn’t saying that much. Had some misunderstandings with Aogo, and would drift in and out of being involved.
Sala – 5.0 – Really offers very little in attack, and did so here today. Was a defensive decision by Fink, and he did win his tackles, but really did very little otherwise and lost the ball high up the pitch a couple of times. Him and Diekmeier were a weak combination.
Son – 4.5 – I talked in the season preview about wanting to actually see something out of this talented young man, who the organization and fans love. But scoring a really nice goal every five or six games isn’t actually good. And he had his trademark moments of standing on the ball as people run by him, unsure of what to do and needing more time, then getting the ball stolen from behind. Had zero shots attempted. Really poor.
Berg – 3.5 – Man, bad way to start off the season. Also zero shots attempted. Was an astounding 8 for 18 in passing – yes, less than 50%! Touched the ball 29 times, Tesche in his half hour on the pitch had 27. Oy vay.
Beister – 6.0 – A couple of weak shots from distance were more than HSV had from any other offensive player outside of Jansen’s header in this game. Also had a couple of nice, tricky passes to Diekmeier that almost took Diekmeier by surprise (and who subsequently wasted them). Needs to play more.
Rudnevs – N/A – Looked VERY strong (physically) at certain points, muscling over Nürnberg players, and did look hungry to get a goal. But he didn’t, and only got 9 touches of the ball. One was a shot attempt, which was more than the two starting strikers combined.
Tesche – -500,00 – Tesche gets a negative score for agreeing to go on the pitch when Fink subbed him on, even though even he knew that it was a horrible decision. Also got a yellow card.
So, some might wonder if I am ready to change my season prediction yet. No, I wasn’t expecting anything good to happen until week 8 or 9, and when the new midfielders are here. To say that I’m not disappointed by this ramschackle performance would be a lie, however. This was awful. No excuse for how poorly they passed. No excuse for the management of subs.
Next week HSV go to a derby at Werder Bremen, who looked impressive in their loss to Dortmund. Could be another loss at the ole’ Fischkopf Stadion.
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