The Rothosen are not having the greatest start to the season. The men from the Imtech Arena who finished 8th last season are propping up the Bundesliga. One point from four games does not make for happy reading. The manner of some of the defeats however will give HSV’s Head Coach Michael Oenning some nasty headaches.
Let’s start by looking at the weekend’s defeat to 1.FC Köln. On paper, going into this game Hamburg would have fancied their chances. Köln had also not enjoyed the greatest start to the season having not won any games before their trip north and pressure was already starting to build on their Manager Stale Solbakken.
Going into this game the two sides occupied the bottom two positions in the Bundesliga.
The game itself was a topsy turvy affair which could have gone either way. The lead changed hands several times. But the nature of Hamburg’s defending is what cost them so dearly. It could have been so different. Hamburg actually started off the better side, and after only eight minutes a stinging long range shot by HSV captain Heiko Westermann forced a scrambling save. Only two minutes later, Westermann hit the bar, and as Köln failed to clear their lines, Dennis Aogo was fouled giving the home side a chance from the spot. Croatian forward Mladen Petric stepped up and duly despatched the penalty. So far so good.
However the celebrations did not last long. Köln pressed forward, and after some neat interchange play, Adil Chihi snuck in unmarked at the back post to equalise. This was costly defensive error number one. Chihi was complete unmarked allowing for a simple tap in.
So it was all square at the break with the scores locked at 1-1.
It was the away side that started the second half with a break neck speed. Lukas Podolski charged up the wing, put in a low cross which Drobny in goal could not gather, leaving Milivoje Novakovic all alone at the back post to score. Preventable goal number two.
The Hamburg equaliser in the 59th minute by Slobodan Rajkovic was a rather fortunate one. A free kick was header on to the post by Son Heung-Min and rebound struck Rajkovic and then found its way in.
And the South Korean player Son was heavily involved again as HSV turned the game around when he latched onto a long ball before turning beautifully and scoring. At this point Hamburg’s defensive errors were long forgotten.
However, their problems were about to return. With only 6 minutes left on the clock, Christian Clemens fired in an equaliser for Köln after being left unmarked from eight yards out. The problem for Hamburg here was that they had left Clemens unmarked despite having 8 players on the 6 yard line. And it would get worse. With two minutes to go, Drobny only got a light punch on a free kick which fell to the Canadian international Kevin McKenna who slotted home the winner making it 3-4 in favour of Köln.
So what can be taken from this game? What exactly are Hamburg’s problems? In their four games so far this season Hamburg have now conceded 14 goals. But it is the manner of those goals which is most concerning. All four goals by Köln were preventable. Had it not been for some quality goalkeeping by Drobny at Bayern Munich earlier this season, the score from that game could have been much worse. And the fixtures after the international break do not get any easier with trips to Bremen and Stuttgart and a visit from Gladbach. If Hamburg doesn’t stop up its leaky defence, Michael Oenning’s days could be numbered.