A Team Profile for Hamburg SV: Assessing Club’s Depth, 2015 – 2016 Season Prospects, and More
The past few years haven’t exactly been easy for fans of Hamburger SV. Not only have the Hamburg-based football club not won a trophy of any kind since 2007, they’ve also been up against the ropes for relegation in each of the past two seasons. They successfully won the relegation playoffs for the second consecutive year, which means that they will be back to fight another day in the 2015 – 2016 Bundesliga. But will the reprieve help to bring the Red Shorts back to prominence in the German top flight? Or would they be more at home in the second division? Keep reading this team profile for Hamburg SV for answers to these questions and more.
The Title Draught
Part of Hamburger SV’s problem in recent years has likely been an inability to attract strong players, and you can blame the football club’s lengthy title draught for that. While Hamburg do have six German championship titles to their name, they haven’t won the top flight since 1983, and haven’t been runners-up since 1987.
Things seemed to be looking up for Hamburg late last decade, when they managed two top-five Bundesliga finishes in a row in 2008 and 2009. Since then, the soccer squad has ping-ponged between solid, if unremarkable performances (seventh or eighth place finishes in 2010, 2011, and 2013) and dreadful off years (15th or 16th place turns in 2012, 2014, and 2015).
To make matters worse, the Red Shorts haven’t won any other trophies recently, either. Their last DFB Pokal and DFB Supercup titles came in 1987, and they’ve only managed one title apiece in the Europa League (in 1982) and the Champions League (in 1983). In fact, Hamburg’s only semi-recent football title came in the now-defunct UEFA Intertoto Cup, which they won in 2007.
The Current Squad
If Hamburg is going to start winning games and climbing the Bundesliga table again, then they are going to need to strengthen their offense. In 2014 – 2015, the club only scored 25 goals in league—the lowest tally of any Bundesliga squad. In fact, Hamburg SV were the only soccer squad on the table to score fewer than 30 goals. Even Werder Bremen, the team that finished at 10th, doubled Hamburg’s goal count.
The only Hamburg player to finish in the top 50 of Bundesliga scorers for the 2014 – 2015 season was Croatian forward Ivica Olic. He scored seven goals and tied for 31st, but five of those goals came at Wolfsburg before a midseason transfer to Hamburg. The team’s actual top scorers for 2015 – 2016, then, were midfielder Rafael van der Vaart and forward Pierre-Michel Lasogga—both of whom tallied four goals in league.
One issue is the youth and inexperience of Hamburg’s offense. Of the soccer clubs attackers, only Ivica Olic and Artoms Rednevs are older than 25. Lasogga is 23, as is Jacques Zoua—who was loaned to Turkish club Erciyesspor in 2014 – 2015 and scored eight goals in 23 appearances there. Unsurprisingly, the Red Shorts are bringing Zoua back to Germany this fall in hopes that he can knock down even better numbers while wearing the Hamburg home jersey 2015 – 2016.
The only other attackers currently in the lineup for Hamburg’s upcoming season are 20-year-old Philipp Muller (a call-up from Hamburger’s second team) and 19-year-old Mustafa Altıntaş (who recently completed a transfer to Hamburg from Turkey’s Bursaspor). Both young men are promising, but again, young and inexperienced. Right now, what Hamburger SV needs is a group of veteran offensive players who have proven themselves and earned their stripes elsewhere. Whether new manager Bruno Labbadia sees things that way, though, is unclear.
Still, in spite of Hamburg SV’s poor performances in recent years, in spite their lengthy trophy draught, and in spite of their thin offensive line, they remain the only original Bundesliga side that has never been relegated from the division. They’ve played consistently in the division since it was first established back in 1963, and have clung tight to the league even when relegation seemed imminent.
Needless to say, there’s some fight left in this football club. Pick up a new Hamburg jersey 2015 – 2016 at Soccer Box, and give the team the fan support they need to break the cycle of sub-par performances.