Updated 19/05/2022 15:18
- For Felix Magath, the relegation battles against his longtime club Hamburger SV are particularly explosive.
- For the coach of Hertha BSC, there could be no more emotional opponent in the sporting battle for existence.
- Our expert Olaf Thon is therefore – despite Magath’s statements to the contrary – also sure of one thing.
Hertha’s coach Felix Magath faces a huge challenge in the relegation duels with Hamburger SV, and not just sportingly. But also emotionally. Magath must let his mind win over his heart. The 68-year-old Bundesliga legend’s task is to keep Hertha BSC in the top flight.
Our expert Olaf Thon is convinced that Magath and Hertha will succeed, albeit with considerable delay. “I actually saved Hertha on match day 33 (1: 2 at home against Mainz, editor’s note) confident, “Thon said in an interview with our editorial staff.” But you can see that it is not a well-trained team. It’s going crazy. Felix Magath has taken a difficult position. Fredi Bobic had also not imagined going through such a difficult season after leaving Frankfurt. If the sponsor also goes against the president and you have so many quarrels in the club, then it will never lead to success. I still assume that Hertha will win the relegation against Hamburg. “
Felix Magath is a legend at Hamburger SV
There, in Hamburg, at HSV, Magath spent the longest and most successful time of his career: from 1976 to 1986 as a player, then until 1988 as a manager. Magath returned to the Elbe in 1993 as coach of the second team, took over as head coach in the fall of 1995, but was fired exactly 25 years ago, in May 1997.
By that time, the Hamburgers were already threatened with their first relegation from the Bundesliga. It overtook 1983 European Cup winners (thanks to a goal by Felix Magath against Juventus Torino) in 2018. Since then, the club has run breathlessly every year in conjunction with advancing races on the run.
HSV has overcome its last sprint trauma
Last season, however, coach Tim Walter and his team turned things around. “We have won the last five matches and scored seven points,” Walter remarked at a press conference two days before the first relegation match (May 18 from 8:30 pm in Berlin): “We may have Hertha in front of it.” On the last day of the match turned Hamburger SV a 0-1 deficit into a 3-2 victory in the derby in Rostock. Just on points with Darmstadt 98, only the goal difference decided the long-distance duel for third place in the table in favor of HSV.
Despite the psychological benefit of a winning streak, Walter warned of “the great individual quality of Berlin”. Thon agrees. “The quality of the squad speaks for Hertha.” In addition, “Hamburg in defense” in Thon’s opinion allows “too much”: “HSV is very offensive.” Despite this, the club conceded by far the fewest goals in Bundesliga 2 last season, conceding 35 goals in 34 matches.
But Thon also uses the statistics to back up his tip to Hertha’s success: “They speak for the 1st division team. I think 80, 85 percent of the 1st division teams have won the relegation in the last 15 years.” In fact, since the re-introduction of relegation matches at the end of the 2008/09 season, the top division teams have won ten out of 13 duels. That equates to a rate of 76.92 percent.
In 2012, Hertha captured it with Otto Rehhagel
Exactly ten years ago, Hertha was one of the three losers in the Bundesliga. At the time, a similar experiment in Berlin failed as it does today: the use of a coaching legend to save the Bundesliga affiliation. Like Magath today, Otto Rehhagel, then 73, faced an ex-club. Rehhagel won the DFB Cup with Fortuna Düsseldorf in 1980. Fortuna sent Hertha into the second division for the last time in 2012.
Does it also happen for Magath against HSV? No club has been relegated more often since 2009. In 2014 and 2015, Hamburger SV only won the Bundesliga with great success, first against Fürth and then against KSC.
“Felix Magath wants a few tears, whether he wins or loses,” Thon is sure. “It will be an emotional story like Michael Zorc’s departure in Dortmund and Rudi Völler in Leverkusen.”
Felix Magath downplays his reunion with HSV
However, Magath himself contradicts Thon, his former colleague on the national team and chess partner: “HSV, there is no doubt about that, is the biggest part of my football life. But it does not matter at all for these two meetings! It is like not going to “It’s about me or my past with HSV. It’s about Hertha BSC – about staying up,” Magath emphasized in an interview with “Kicker”. “I’ve often had enough games where it’s all about the sausage. I can focus on my task,” the 1982 and 1986 vice world champions added elsewhere.
Magath and his team focused on the task of staying ahead of a place with a special aura: the Kienbaum Sports School. Otherwise, participants from the Olympic and Paralympic Games will fight there.
Training camp in Kienbaum: Magath “smells and feels successful”
“We chose this sports school because this is where the winners come from. We want to benefit from this aura,” said Magath. “You can smell and feel the success of the world champions and Olympic champions everywhere,” he added, “that’s why we’re in the best company.”
The medal factory Kienbaum near Berlin should infect its players: Hertha coach Felix Magath strongly urges his team before entering the Bundesliga relegation against Hamburger SV: “We are in good company here.” (Teaser image: IMAGO / Matthias Koch / Sebastian Rappold) © Sky
Magath was sure of victory the day before the first match. “I’m sure if everything goes as normal, we’ll have a good chance of leaving these two relegation battles as winners.” “Momentum” is from Hertha’s side. “We are in a good mood, we will show it twice.” “The fact is that if you look at it objectively, since I have been in charge, we have made a positive development.”
Olaf Thon: “Felix Magath will not accept more commitments”
Regardless of the outcome of the relegation, Thon does not believe that Magath will stay in Berlin or that the “great strategist” will return to the coaching staff. “I can imagine Magath will not accept more engagements after Hertha. These weeks in Hertha were like years for him. He has seen how deeply this relegation battle digs in, how exhausting it is, how much it drains the psyche.” I looked him in the eye as Moukoko cashed in the crucial goal for Hertha at Dortmund. It was tough for Felix Magath. But he still has two games to prove that he is a great coach. “
With material from dpa
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