Anssi Suhonen: In the thick of things instead of just being there

After his fibula fracture, the 21-year-old Finn was back in the squad for the first time in Kiel - and is working in every training session to celebrate his season debut soon.

On Tuesday, coach Tim Walter asked his team to return to the training ground after two days off and thus opened the preparation for the home match against Fortuna Düsseldorf. Anssi Suhonen was once again in the thick of things, scurrying through the opponents' ranks and into the open spaces. What does not sound spectacular at first glance is anything but a matter of course for the Finn. After breaking his fibula in a training accident in mid-May, the lively midfielder enjoys every session. "I feel really good since my return to team training," the 21-year-old said after Tuesday's session, "I was still lacking a few percent in stamina and tackling at the beginning, but that's coming back bit by bit now."

One reason why Suhonen can now, some four months after the serious injury, already be free of bad thoughts and all-round positive and fully involved again, goes back two years. In 2020, he tore his cruciate ligament and is now drawing on the experience of that period, which was anything but easy: "I'm clear-headed and not afraid to throw myself back into it because I know from the experience of my first serious injury how my body reacts and that everything is fine. It helps me immensely for the head that I have mastered such a situation before." 

This has not gone unnoticed by Walter, who is extremely happy about Suhonen's return and is so positive about his training impressions that he even nominated him for the squad again for the first time most recently in the away win in Kiel. "That made me happy, of course, I was very happy about it," says Suhonen, "I haven't played yet, but I didn't believe myself that it would even happen so quickly to be back."

And so Hamburg's number 36 enjoyed the experience of not quite being in the thick of things in a competitive match, but at least being there. He was rooting for the team on the bench, cheered on his colleagues and visibly enjoyed bathing in the crowd in front of the Hamburg supporters' stand as they celebrated the fourth treble in the fourth away game of the season together with the fans. "That was the best moment for me in a long time," says Suhonen, who is already looking a little further ahead. The reason: his impatience. "I wouldn't say I'm a very patient person, especially when it comes to football," is how the Finnish U21 international describes himself. Last season, he won the hearts of the HSV fans with his spirited performances in the jersey of the Rothosen and contributed two goals and two assists in his 18 appearances before the fibula fracture abruptly slowed him down shortly before the relegation matches against Hertha BSC.

Slow down yes, stop no - that's a good way to describe the experience. Anssi, who has worked his way up from HSV's youth team via the U21s to the pros over the past few years, is quite certain that this will not happen. On the contrary: "I want to get back there as soon as possible, want to be back on the pitch with the boys and play as much as possible," says Suhonen, looking forward to what is soon to come. So that he can scurry through the opponents' ranks and into the open spaces again, not only on the training pitch but also in the packed Volksparkstadion. And to be in the thick of things instead of just being there.