Second Bundesliga: This is how Werder and HSV fight for promotion

WPlaces of appreciation in the direction of Hamburger SV, sympathy perhaps for the northern rival? Not with Ole Werner. “I don’t think much about that. We’re trying to do our best and do our part to be among the winners in this fight for promotion. That’s all I’m concentrating on,” said Werder Bremen’s coach when asked if it wouldn’t be nice to have both traditional clubs back in the Bundesliga. It’s hard to elicit something beyond core business from Werner anyway – these days it’s impossible.

The head coach at SV Werder is even more focused and concentrated in guiding his pros ahead of the big season finale on Sunday (3:30 p.m. in the FAZ live ticker for the 2nd Bundesliga and on Sky). He noticed what happens when players and teams slack off just a little in this fascinatingly tight second division – everything was ready on Friday two weeks ago for the big step towards the championship in the lower house, for promotion.

But then the Green-Whites lost 2-3 after a 2-0 lead against Werner’s long-time club Holstein Kiel. Because Schalke, Darmstadt and HSV won on the same day, Werder suddenly looked stupid. Underestimated the opponent? Definitely not.

Rather fell victim to the power density – like Darmstadt a week later in Düsseldorf. And even when Bremen won 3-0 at relegated Aue last matchday, their difficulties were visible to everyone.

Because the knees of the respective favorites are shaking in this exciting ascent race, every opponent can become a stumbling block. It’s a lot easier to fight for a tabular advantage than to maintain it in the crucial weeks.

The chances of the northern rival also play no role for Ole Werner because it is a long-distance duel with clear advantages for Bremen. The green and whites only need one more point on Sunday in the Weser Stadium against Jahn Regensburg, then Werder would have repaired the accident in May 2021 and returned to the upper house after just one year – with a lot of first division personnel.

Because with all the changes in the squad, sports director Frank Baumann trusted a group that has a lot of Bundesliga experience. But it was Ole Werner who elicited true performance from Bremen in November, not least because he recognized that the 38-goal attack by Marvin Ducksch and Niclas Füllkrug harmonized wonderfully.

While there is great confidence in Bremen and the fans assume that Werder will fulfill its last task of the season and move up as the second club alongside FC Schalke 04, something is also growing in Hamburg.

The large following is still somewhat suspicious; too much has gone wrong in recent years. But since coach Tim Walter encouraged everyone in and around the club with the phrase “We want to get promoted”, fans and officials have gathered behind the coach and followed him.

For 32 matchdays, Walter had only talked about not wanting to look at the table. Instead, he had put the development of the young, comparatively cheap team in the foreground – and priced in the setbacks. After the 0-1 draw in Kiel four weeks ago, nobody wanted to hear that anymore.

The next second division season seemed booked, the fifth. But four victories and an unusual robustness in dealing with fluttering nerves have allowed HSV to jump to third place – from where he wants to do the best possible on Sunday at FC Hansa Rostock.

“There is great anticipation”

And unlike usual, no fear of failure seems to paralyze the legs this time. “There’s great anticipation that we’ll still have the chance to score something on the last day of the game and possibly get promoted or at least get relegated,” says striker Robert Glatzel, who kept Hamburg’s hopes alive with his 21 goals.

In the middle of the week, however, Anssi Suhonen broke his fibula in training. The young Finn recently got the HSV midfield rolling with speed, energy and playfulness and incidentally also stands for the new way in which Hamburg is giving young professionals a serious chance.

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Anyway: A win in Rostock and HSV would play in the relegation against the third from bottom in the Bundesliga, Hertha, Stuttgart or Bielefeld, on Thursday and Monday. Should Werder lose and Hamburg win, HSV could even celebrate direct promotion.

If both fail, the fourth-placed player from Darmstadt would also be included in the draw. Coach Torsten Lieberknecht’s “Lilien” are fourth and have to defeat SC Paderborn – and hope for both northern clubs to slip up.

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