Filip Kostic, Kyriakos Papadopoulos, Luca Waldschmidt and a few others: When Hamburger SV was relegated from the Bundesliga in 2018, it had a number of professionals with well-known names under contract. After four years in the second division that has changed a bit.
The average sports watcher with an interest in football will not know what to do with many HSV players. We present four of them that you should look out for when Hamburg meet Hertha BSC in the relegation this Thursday (8.30 p.m., live on Sat1 and Sky).
DANIEL HEUER FERNANDES
It was only a few months ago that Daniel Heuer Fernandes was called up to the German national team for the first time. huh Daniel who? Yes, yes. That was in autumn. National coach Hansi Flick had gathered his team in Hamburg, and because Manuel Neuer was injured, Heuer Fernandes, the HSV goalkeeper, was allowed to train temporarily with the national team for a day.
“Hamburg’s Manuel Neuer”, that’s what the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” called Heuer Fernandes recently. This is mainly due to the fact that the 29-year-old HSV keeper’s game is similar to that of Neuer. “He always has a footballing solution,” says Tim Walter. If it were up to the HSV coach, his team would always have the ball – and a goalkeeper is also a part of a team. Heuer Fernandes is good with his foot, he always thinks offensively and can therefore easily be integrated into HSV’s possession game.
Anyone who thinks that Manuel Neuer is a bit too much of a reference for the man who was born in Bochum with a Portuguese father can also take Manuel Riemann from VfL Bochum. He is also valued for his football skills – and as a guy. Just like Heuer Fernandes. “He has a strong character, stands for something and is convinced of everything he does,” says coach Walter. “What he represents is what our team represents.”
The fact that HSV conceded 35 goals, the best defense in the second division, was not only due to its goalkeeper. It was also due to a young man who plays a row ahead of Heuer Fernandes in the back four – and whom Hamburg only loaned out from Hajduk Split on the last day of the transfer period in the summer.
The 20-year-old central defender Mario Vuskovic has developed so well that HSV signed the Croatian U-21 international in March for just over three million euros. According to general opinion, this is a worthwhile investment: Vuskovic still has a lot of imagination. “He has quickly become a very important part of our team,” says Hamburg’s sporting director Jonas Boldt.
By mid-November, Vuskovic had only made three appearances for HSV. Since then he has always played – apart from the game against Holstein Kiel, when he was substituted in the 90th minute. For the “Hamburger Abendblatt” the young Croatian is already “the secret captain” of HSV.
And in Croatia, too, his career is well received. “Of course I follow Mario’s magnificent development in Hamburg,” said national coach Zlatko Dadic recently. “He has a good chance of slipping into our World Cup squad.” Vuskovic was already in contact with Dadic’s assistant coach, former HSV professional Ivica Olic. They happened to be on the same plane to Hamburg. Mario Vuskovic was quite surprised that Ivica Olic recognized him.
Before Ludovit Reis set off into the big wide world of football at the age of 19, he played for a club that calls itself “Trots van het Noorden”: the pride of the North. Maybe it fits for Reis, now 21, that’s why so well with the proud north club HSV. In any case, better than at FC Barcelona, where he was already under contract, but which was probably a size too big for the Dutchman with Slovakian parents.
At 15, Reis was still playing at his youth club near Amsterdam. He was discovered more or less by chance by a scout from FC Groningen. Two years later, the midfielder made his Eredivisie debut for Groningen, two years later he joined Barca for €3.25m.
Even if he was only used there in the B team, Reis does not want to miss his time in Catalonia: At Barca he has developed into a box-to-box player, he says. In general, he is getting better and better at getting into dangerous spaces and scoring goals. After all, Reis scored five goals last season; on Sunday he prepared the important 2:1 win in Rostock by captain Schonlau. “But my strength is winning the ball, being aggressive and helping the team in that way.”
A year ago, Reis was already in relegation, failed with VfL Osnabrück and got relegated from the second division. He now wants to leave the league in the other direction against Hertha and his compatriot Jurgen Ekkelenkamp, with whom he plays for Holland’s U21s. Up. “Reis is a good footballer. He also has a good fighting spirit,” former HSV captain Rafael van der Vaart told the Hamburger Morgenpost. “He’s a similar guy to Thiago.”
When a club lets go of the top scorer in the second division and that striker not only becomes top scorer again but also gets promoted to the Bundesliga with his new club, then the club that let him go should have every reason to deeply regret it . At Hamburger SV it’s a bit different in the case of Simon Terodde. And that is mainly due to Robert Glatzel.
Terodde scored 24 goals for Hamburg last season – and paradoxically, maybe that was exactly his problem. Terodde just scored goals and neglected the other aspects of football a bit. With Glatzel, who HSV took from Cardiff City for 1.5 million euros, the qualities are a little better balanced.
Coach Walter wanted a different type of striker, one who not only loitered in the penalty area but also participated in the game. “He can fix the balls up front, he’s extremely strong in the air. He’s also technically good and can use the other players,” says Walter.
And he still scores goals. It was 22 for Glatzel in the second division – one more than he has scored in his previous three second division seasons (two for Heidenheim, one for Kaiserslautern). He did the last on Sunday, when Glatzel headed in against Hansa Rostock to make it 1-1 and thus made a decisive contribution to Hamburg finally being able to cancel their subscription in fourth place in the second division.