Landing against HSV: ‘Felix Magath will cry’

Updated on 05/19/2022 03:18 PM

  • For Felix Magath, the relegation matches against his longtime club Hamburg SV are particularly explosive.
  • For the coach of Hertha Berlin, there is no longer an emotional opponent in the sporting struggle for existence.
  • Therefore, our expert Olaf Thun – despite Magath’s statements to the contrary – is also sure of one thing.

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Hertha coach Felix Magath faces a formidable challenge in relegation duels with Hamburger SV, and it’s not just on the sporting front. But also emotionally. Magath must let his mind win his heart. The task of the 68-year-old Bundesliga legend is to keep Hertha in the top flight.

Our expert Olaf Thun is convinced that Magath and Hertha will succeed, albeit with much delay. “I actually saved Herta in round 33 (1:2 at home vs. Mainz, editor’s note). “He’s pretty confident,” Thun said in an interview with our editors. “But you can see that it’s not a well-trained team. It turns wires. Felix Magath took a difficult situation. Freddy Bobic also did not imagine going through such a difficult season after leaving Frankfurt. If the sponsor also opposes the president and you have a lot of disagreements in the club, It will never lead to success. I still assume that Hertha will win by relegation to Hamburg.”


1:2 at Borussia Dortmund on 14 May 2022 sent Felix Magath and Hertha Berlin to relegation at the end of the Bundesliga season.

© Photo Alliance / Lacey Perini

Felix Magath is a legend in Hamburger SV

There, in Hamburg, Magath spent the longest and most successful time of his career: from 1976 to 1986 as a player, and then until 1988 as a coach. Magat returned to Elbe in 1993 as coach of the second team, and took over as coach in the fall of 1995, only to be fired exactly 25 years earlier, in May 1997.

At that time, Hamburger was already threatened with his first relegation from the German League. That surpassed the 1983 European Cup winners (thanks to Felix Magath’s goal against Juventus Turin) in 2018. Since then, the club has run out of breath every year in the race to go up at home.

HSV has overcome the last running shock

But last season, coach Tim Walter and his team changed things. “We have won the last five games and made up for seven points,” Walter noted in a press conference two days before the first relegation match (May 18 from 8:30 pm in Berlin): “Maybe Hertha is ahead of that.” On the last day of the match , Hamburger SV turned from 0-1 down to win 3-2 in the derby at Rostock. Equal on points with Darmstadt 98, only goal difference settled the long-distance duel for third place in the table in favor of HSV.

Tim Walter, Hamburg SV, 2nd Bundesliga, 2021/22
After just one season at Hamburger SV, Tim Walter wants to bring the former Dino back to the top flight in the Bundesliga. The founding member HSV was forced to leave the Bundesliga in 2018 after 55 years of continuous membership.

© dpa/Marcus Brandt

Despite the psychological advantage of a winning streak, Walter warned of the “wonderful individual quality of the Berliners”. Thon agrees. “The quality of the team speaks volumes for Hertha.” Additionally, in Thun’s opinion, “Hamburg in Defense” allows “too much”: “HSV is very offensive.” Despite this, the club conceded the fewest goals in the Bundesliga last season, conceding 35 goals in 34 matches.

But Thun also uses statistics to back up his advice for Hertha’s success: “They speak for the First Division team. I think 80, 85 percent of the First Division teams have won relegation in the last 15 years.” In fact, since relegation matches were reintroduced at the end of the 2008/09 season, top-flight teams have won ten of the 13 duels. This corresponds to a rate of 76.92 percent.

In 2012, Hertha caught up with Otto Rehhagel

Exactly ten years ago, Hertha was one of the three losers in the Bundesliga. Back then, a similar experiment failed in Berlin as it does today: using a coaching legend to salvage belonging to the Bundesliga. Like Magath today, Otto Rehhagel, who was 73 at the time, faced an ex-team. Rehhagel won the DFB Cup with Fortuna Dusseldorf in 1980. He sent Fortuna Hertha to the second division for the last time in 2012.

Felix Magath, Hertha BSC, 1. FSV Mainz 05, Bundesliga, Round 33, 2021/22
On 7 May 2022, Hertha BSC team led by Felix Magath awarded the so-called match point at home against 1. FSV Mainz 05 after a 2-1 defeat in the battle for relegation. The advantage over the relegation center and former Magath club VFB Stuttgart is reduced to three points this afternoon from round 33 of the Bundesliga.

© EPO-EFE / Clemence Bilan

Does this also happen to Magath vs HSV? No club has been relegated more than once since 2009. In 2014 and 2015, Hamburg SV only had the Bundesliga with a lot of luck, first against Fürth and then against Casa FC.

“Felix Magath will cry, regardless of whether he wins or loses,” Thon is sure of. “It will be an emotional story like the departure of Michael Zorc at Dortmund and Rudi Voeller at Leverkusen.”

Felix Magath plays down the importance of his reunion with HSV

However, Magath himself contrasts Thun, his former national teammate and chess partner: “HSV, there is no doubt about it, is the biggest part of my footballing life. But it doesn’t matter at all for these two matches! It won’t be about me or My past with HSV. It’s all about Hertha BSC – about staying up late,” Magath confirmed in an interview with Kicker. The vice world champion in 1982 and 1986 added elsewhere: “I often had enough matches where it was all about sausages. I can focus on my task.”

Felix Magath, Borussia Dortmund, Hertha Berlin, Bundesliga, Round 34, 2021/20
Despite their 1-0 lead in Dortmund, Hertha Berlin under coach Felix Magath have to fall back after a 1-2 draw at the end of the 2021/22 season. The longtime Magath club, Hamburger SV, is waiting in.

© IMAGO / osnapix

Magath and his team focused on a survival mission in the lead up to a place with a special aura: Kienbaum Sports School. Other than that, participants in the Olympic and Paralympic Games suffer there.

Kienbaum Training Camp: Magath “Smells and Feels Success”

“We chose this sports school because that’s where the winners come from. We want to capitalize on that aura,” Magath said. “You can smell and feel the success of world champions and Olympic champions everywhere. That’s why we are in the best companies,” he added.

Medal factory Kienbaum near Berlin must swear by its players: Hertha coach Felix Magath cheers his team on before going into the Bundesliga for the relegation against Hamburg SV: “We are in good company here”. (Trailer Image: IMAGO / Matthias Koch / Sebastian Rabold) © Sky

Magath was confident of winning the day before the first leg. “I’m sure that if things go as usual, we’ll have a good chance of getting out of these two games by being relegated as winners.” “Momentum” by Herta. “We’re in a good mood, and we’ll show it twice.” “The truth is, if you look at it objectively, since I took over, we’ve made a positive development.”

Olaf Ton: “Felix Magath will not accept more contracts”

Regardless of the outcome of the relegation, Ton does not believe that Magath will remain in Berlin or that the “Great Strategist” will return to the bench. “I can imagine Magath will not accept any further engagements after Hertha. These weeks at Hertha have been like years for him. He saw how deep this relegation battle was, how exhausting, and psychologically draining.” He looked him in the eye when Mukoko conceded the crucial goal for Hertha in Dortmund. That was tough for Felix Magath. But he still has two games to prove that he is a great coach.”

With material from dpa

Wataru Endo, Benno Schmitz, Marvin Schwepp, VFB Stuttgart, 1. FC Cologne, Bundesliga, round 34

Highlights of the 2021/22 Bundesliga season: Here – updated regularly – you will find moments that will remain in your memory.

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