Bundesliga relegation: HSV coach Walter leads the way: no doubts allowed

Bundesliga relegation
HSV coach Walter leads the way: no doubts allowed

Tim Walter is challenged like never before before the relegation against VfB Stuttgart. photo

© Christian Charisius/dpa

The rise – that’s all that counts for Tim Walter. After the drama in Sandhausen, the coach of the second division Hamburger SV is challenged like never before before the relegation against VfB Stuttgart.

Tim Walter was in his element. The drama in Sandhausen? Ticked off. Relegation against VfB Stuttgart? The chance. The coach of the second division Hamburger SV was once again the optimist.

“I can’t think negatively and act positively,” said the 47-year-old. “It doesn’t work. That’s why there are no negative thoughts at all.”

It was only two days ago that HSV had already celebrated direct promotion after the 1-0 win in the last league game at SV Sandhausen and was then sent to relegation by 1. FC Heidenheim. And only two days before the first leg for the last starting place in the Beletage against the Bundesliga-16. from Stuttgart he didn’t want to let even the slightest doubt arise. “Especially now,” he described the mood in himself and in his team.

Walter: Stuttgart wasn’t happy about HSV

For Walter, too, there is a lot at stake in the relegation. Even missing out on direct promotion seemed like a personal defeat given the self-confidence he had shown throughout the season. Because for him and sports director Jonas Boldt, non-promotion and the failure of the mission was never an option. That’s why the low blow on Sunday in Sandhausen should have hit Walter hard. But he wasn’t allowed to concern himself with his own condition for long.

He wants and has to lead the way – and his team follows him unconditionally. Nobody exemplifies optimism and determination like he does. And he wants to convey that before the second relegation a year after the failure against Hertha BSC. “I don’t think Stuttgart were happy when they heard they were playing against HSV,” he said – a typical Walter phrase. “It’s going to be a great game: VfB Stuttgart, great club, against HSV, great club.”

Walter’s us-against-everyone-and-everyone-against-us attitude has been internalized by his players over the past two years. And their attitude has helped them get through central defender Mario Vuskovic’s doping ban, management quarrels and the fuss over the car accident between Jean-Luc Dompe and William Mikelbrencis. The team and the coach have grown together.

Walter got viewers excited about HSV

Walter’s sentences like “We’ll stay with us” or “We only look after ourselves” are now fixed components in the vocabulary of his players. The fact that he never publicly criticizes his pros, defends them from criticism and expresses their unlimited trust contributes to the cohesion between the coach and the team.

The coach has also succeeded in getting spectators enthusiastic about HSV even in the fifth year in the second division. His offensive style of play often causes a spectacle – and just as often for discussions. The average of well over 53,000 spectators is at Champions League level and is a key economic factor for the club.

Walter can also be stubborn. He does not accept criticism that he is tactically too inflexible or that the cover is too often too vulnerable. Although HSV had often been put under pressure with simple means by teams with fewer means in terms of play. Holding on can be construed as consistent – or as stubbornness.

Walter had to leave Stuttgart in 2019

Also in Stuttgart, Walter offended. Shortly before Christmas 2019 he had to go after only six months and 18 match days. At that time, the Swabians were in third place. The sports director at the time, Sven Mislintat, no longer believed in Walter’s chosen path. One alpha animal was too many.

Mislintat is long gone. Today Fabian Wohlgemuth (44) is sports director. An old acquaintance from Walter’s times in Kiel. Both maintain a good relationship. “In any case, I can assure you that the passion of my connection with Tim Walter is not so great that it could have any influence on these games,” said the VfB sporting director.

At HSV, 41-year-old Boldt is the strong man. He and Walter are considered a unit. On the supervisory board, he had campaigned for a contract extension for Walter until June 2024. Walter is the first HSV coach since the Hamburgers were relegated in 2018 who was allowed to stay for a second year. Now he should successfully complete the promotion mission and then start the Bundesliga mission.


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