Christian Rahn: “This weekend’s derby will be more exciting"

Former HSV and St. Pauli player Christian Rahn spoke ahead of this Sunday’s city derby against FC St. Pauli, highlighting the importance of the fixture and giving his expectations for the clash, which will be the 101st meeting between the two rivals.

It is a fixture in which Christian Rahn has represented both sides. During his professional playing career, 39-year-old Rahn, who now coaches in the HSV youth set-up, made 58 appearances for HSV and featured on 82 occasions for the city rivals – and understands the size of the fixture and its meaning to the fans. In the latest edition of HSVlive, the former HSV man shared his views on the clash.

The former left back spoke about...

…the importance of the derby: It is a little bit different nowadays, as in the past there were a lot more local players in the teams. There are people associated with the current squad who have played in the derby before, such as kit managers Miro Zadach and Edu Freytag, and team manager Jürgen Ahlert. The match is particularly special for them. Above all, the derby is most important for the fans, but of course the players know that it is a special occasion. For example, in the 2010/11 season when St. Pauli won 1-0 at the Volksparkstadion, the St. Pauli didn’t care about the team suffering relegation because they had won the derby. The derby still holds meaning for the younger generation. In my view it means a little bit more to St. Pauli – in the days building up to the match, nothing else matters. I think it’s due to the underdog nature of the club.

...the Millerntor-Stadion: Playing there is always special. But it was more of a the culture shock back when I was playing. There was only one toilet in the changing room, and a smoking room directly next door, where some players would go in between warming up and kickoff! And to get to the pitch, we all had to walk through the crowd of spectators - it's unimaginable today! The Millerntor is nonetheless a proper football stadium, which in my opinion is no longer as terrifying as it used to be back in the day. Despite that, HSV will expect a fair amount of resistance from the stands in this game, even though the current support at the Millerntor isn’t really my thing.

...his expectations: I'm curious to see how St. Pauli perform. Recently, they’ve had a defensive mentality and looked to play on the counter, even at home. Will they take this approach in the derby, where fans will want a win that St. Pauli will have to give everything for? If they play more expansive, they will allow more space which HSV may be able to exploit. In the first half of the season, we sometimes found it easier to play away, as the opponents were a bit more offensive-minded at their own grounds. I think it will be a more exciting game than the last one, but HSV will come out on top.

...the 101st derby: I'll definitely be there - I've already got my tickets. It will be the same as every HSV game I watch live. In the first ten minutes, I watch the game like a coach and observe the tactics, such as how our team is playing and how the opponents react to our style. But then the fan inside me takes over and I am just like any other supporter for the rest of the game! However, like every fan, I just want the club to get back to the Bundesliga as quick as possible, so we need to win Sunday’s derby because we need the points a lot more than St. Pauli.