Our next opponents: Hamburg SV

A win for starters, a defeat in the middle and hopefully a positive result for Bayer 04 at the end of this busy week of fixtures. The opportunity is there with a home game against Hamburg SV on Sunday (24 September, 18.00 CET). After a good start to the season Hamburg are currently struggling with injuries and a lack of goals from the strikers. Read on for the lowdown on HSV.


HSV competed well for much of the game but ended up with a 3-0 defeat against league leaders Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday night. The euphoria, emerging  after two wins at the start of the season that saw Hamburg top of the table for one night, has started to wane. Three defeats in succession has witnessed the team from the Hanseatic city slip down to eleventh place in the table. A position that would have been more than satisfactory at the end of last season and could indicate the possibility of a campaign without major worries – a situation HSV have sought for years.


Less than two weeks after the transfer window closed, HSV were forced to react. The reason: Injuries to Filip Kostic, Aaron Hunt and Nicolai Müller who were supposed to play together behind centre forward Bobby Wood in Markus Gisdol's ideal first eleven. Hamburg responded immediately by awarding a one-year deal to out-of-contract Sejad Salihovic. The former Hoffenheim player and renowned set piece specialist has been brought in to fill a gap in the HSV midfield. The key players in the squad are, in addition to Salihovic and Wood, the two former Germany internationals Lewis Holtby and André Hahn, whose return to the Hanseatic city after a seven-year absence was the marquee signing of the summer. At the back, the HSV coach Gisdol has great trust in central defender Kyriakos Papadopoulos who has now signed permanent terms after being on loan from Bayer 04 last season.


The loss of Kostic and Müller, whose pacey individual moves consistently posed a threat in the past, has hit the Hamburg attack hard. The last three matches have not only brought HSV just one point but they have also failed to score. Not a record that will pacify the unsettled atmosphere in the North German metropolis particularly after the season began with an unbelievable exit from the DFB Cup away to third division Osnabrück – The club have suffered from that background for several years and have been unable to improve the performances on the pitch to a sustainable level.


There is a question over the financial injections provided by patron Klaus-Michael Kühne: HSV are in the process of reorganising their structures and way of working. Away from continual changes in personnel to consistency and trust in the current squad and management. If that succeeds then the chances are good of leaving behind the permanent sporting crisis of the recent past, given the passion of the fans, the good infrastructure, attractive location and numerous impressive,  potential partners.


If at all possible, the aim this term is to avoid the supporters having to worry about staying up right to the end of the season. In Markus Gisdol, HSV have a coach who is able to take on this challenging task with the necessary calm and experience in battling relegation. With the available quality of the squad, Hamburg should be able to hold onto their unique status as the only original member still in the Bundesliga in spite of the possibility of further turbulence in this campaign.


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