Simple recipe for success
HSV raised many eyebrows as they beat reigning Bundesliga champions and DFB Cup holders Borussia Dortmund 4-1 away from home, on Bundesliga matchday 21 last Saturday. The recipe for success was simple: Put into practise what head coach Thorsten Fink had demanded of them during the run up to the game.
At this time of year the people in Germany celebrating various carnival events are thought to have the biggest smiles on their faces. Last Saturday though, those revellers had stiff competition from the Rothosen celebrating their amazing and well deserved 4-1 with 8,000 travelling fans at the sold out signal Iduna Park in Dortmund. The majority of the 80,000 crowd were left open-mouthed after the final whistle was blown. The result was a major upset to put it mildly.
Tactically astute - Perfect substitutes
Slobodan Rajkovic came on for Rafael van der Vaart and showed immediate presence. Fink had said during the week leading up to the game: "Just when nobody thinks we can do it we come up with the goods." He prepared his players brilliantly. HSV took the game to Dortmund from the off and the home side didn't like it. HSV were not unduly worried as they went a goal behind. On the contrary: They bounced back through goals by Rudnevs and Son. The substitutes did a sterling job for the team. Sport boss Frank Arnesen said after the game: " Rajkovic, Arslan and Kacar were at perfect playing temperature as they come on, exactly as it should be."
One aspect which surprised most people was Fink's decision to play his tried and trusted midfield diamond formation, with battling duo Tómas Rincón, in front of the back four and van der Vaart pulling the strings further up the pitch. The player's ability to put into practise what had been demanded of them was without doubt the key to success in Dortmund. The Rothosen played in an almost insolent way, not allowing star-studded Borussia to settle on the ball and switch quickly from defence to attack. That won the day for Hamburg and that performance is certainly one to build upon in coming games.