It’s the first match since the announcement that Louis van Gaal will leave the club after the season (or earlier). But if you think Bayern’s season has been chaotic, have a look at the opponent’s recent past: About to miss the Europa League for the second time in a row despite being the second-richest club in the country, almost 2 years of publicly looking for a new sporting director, one of the best players not in the squad for weeks because of disciplinary reasons and, that sounds familiar, a coach that has to leave after the season – that’s the Hamburger SV.
Both teams are in a very similar situation: they now have to play for a coach that will be gone soon anyway. And both teams need a win, Bayern to keep the CL hopes and Hamburg to keep the EL hopes alive.
Lineups changes have to be made as Breno is suspended after the red card against Hannover and Hamburg’s right-back Guy Demel is injured. There are many possible solutions for Bayern’s defense: Will Daniel van Buyten start? Will Anatoliy Tymoshchuk be in the starting lineup after only playing the first half in Hannover? What about Holger Badstuber who is out of form? Luiz Gustavo or Danijel Pranjic? Or both and no Toni Kroos? Armin Veh’s squad is a bit more predictable. He’ll again use the 4-2-3-1/4-4-2 hybrid which uses former FCB striker Paolo Guerrero in a second striker position. Tomas Rincon is most likely gonna replace Guy Demel, the undisciplined but highly talented Eljero Elia could be in the starting lineup and the central midfield will feature two former Bayern players: Ze Roberto and David Jarolim.
Since the club’s situation is confusing for outsiders, I asked HSV fan/expert dan_bu (you should follow him on Twitter) to answer a couple of questions. Once again, thanks a lot for that.
RR: Is the Europa League qualification still possible or is the team not good enough to win the battle against Mainz, Bayern, Nuremberg and Freiburg?
dan_bu: Of course it´s still possible, but the chances are slim in my opinion. The team not consistent enough, so hard to predict if they can still close the gap. After a few good games, there came always poor games so far.
RR: Do they have to go for the win on Saturday or would a tie in Munich be acceptable?
dan_bu: Of course they´ll try to win and neither of the two teams is in a comfortable situation at the moment. Both have problems defensively and off the field, but HSV played always well at the Allianz Arena. They can´t play for a draw there, so they´ll hopefully try to get a result. We´ll see which team deals better with the current situations. Depending on how the team plays and fights in that game, a draw could be ok.
RR: The everlasting search for a new sporting director definitely hurt the club’s reputation. But do you think it’s also the main reason for the disappointing results of last and this season? If not, what do you think is the main reason?
dan_bu: It´s a part of the reason, I guess. For good and consistent performances on the pitch, there must be constancy off the pitch, too. I could probably write about 100 sites about the structural problems in the club and I´m sure they affect the team, too.
Another reason is probably the structure of the team. HSV have many older players and younger players only get their chances now. There´ll be a big reshape in summer.
Many players still have the semi-final losses of the last season in their heads.
RR: With Armin Veh leaving the HSV after the season, who do the fans want as replacement?
dan_bu: Of course there´ll always be the name of Felix Magath in the press in Hamburg and some fans want him back, because of him (probably) leaving Schalke, but he shouldn´t be a serious option. He wouldn´t fit together with Arnesen and never had long-term success.
The favourites are probably Rangnick (who is also wanted by Wolfsburg and maybe soon by Schalke) and Solbakken (who´ll become Norway’s NT coach in 2012, but is allowed to cancel the deal, if a big club wants him) at the moment. Dutt and Laudrup also mentioned in the press, but less likely.
RR: What exactly can Frank Arnesen improve?
dan_bu: In the short term, he has to reshape the first team and make the right decisions this summer. Many contracts run out and many players are out on loan, so he has to decide what happens with these (about 20) players.
In the long term, he must improve the whole youth system, because that´s where HSV had huge problems in the past. He has to reshape the structure of our youth setup and find young talents to integrate there.
RR: Is a new board of directors needed if the club wants long-term success or was letting president Bernd Hoffmann go the right decision?
dan_bu: Some say Hoffmann has to go and others want him to stay. Hoffmann basically had to do two jobs since Beiersdorfer left and made some mistakes now and then, but he led the club to a total revenue of 147m €, too, which is the second place behind Bayern.
The main problem at HSV is their supervisory board in my opinion and the way the 12 members get elected, but it would take too long to explain that now.
Basically the club members (“fans”) elect the supervisory board, but only a few groups of them go to the elections and have way too much power, because of this. A modern and professional football club can´t be led like that.
RR: What position is the team’s weakness?
dan_bu: In general the main weaknesses are at CB and at RB. At CB Mathijsen is past his best and not fit at the moment. Kacar, who´ll play alongside Westermann there tomorrow is usually a midfielder, but did an ok job there so far.
At RB, Demel is in a poor form for a long time now and probably out for the Bayern game. Rincon is rather a defensive midfielder, but will maybe replace him. Diekmeier is injured since he joined the club last summer.
We definitely need new players in both positions in summer.
In central midfield, we haven´t got enough athleticism with Zé Roberto and Jarolim, but with Kacar at CB we have no other options at the moment.
RR: Who is the most valuable player at the moment?
dan_bu: Maybe Petric is the best player of the last few games. Dangerous in front of the goal and even started to work hard for the team. Aogo at LB always working hard and giving 100%, too.
Elia has the most potential of all of our players, but wasn´t even in the squad in the last few games, because he doesn´t perform well in training and rather talks to media how good he actually is, then showing it on the pitch.
As you can see, there are a lot of problems in Hamburg waiting to be solved both on and off the pitch. While a win against Bayern would surely help, I’d prefer if Hamburg starts to fix its on-the-pitch problems a week later.