Martin Harnik in FOCUS online interview: Former HSV star thwarts promotion hopes: “Disappointment has set in”

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Martin Harnik is a real Hamburg boy and played for Hamburger SV at the end of his successful career. Before the match in the top category of the second division between the leader Holstein Kiel and HSV (fourth in the standings), the former Austrian national team player (68 games/15 goals) takes stock of the fight for promotion in the FOCUS online interview.

Hamburg SV hosts Holstein Kiel, a fantastic match in the second division. With 59 points, the Kielers are already nine points ahead of the Hamburgers, who are already three points behind the third-placed Düsseldorfers. The fourth-placed team from the Hanseatic city urgently needs the three points to be able to aspire to direct promotion places.

Former Bundesliga star Martin Harnik will follow the action on Saturday afternoon (8:30 p.m.) as an expert on Sport1 on free-to-air television. Harnik himself was mainly in the Bundesliga active (240 games/66 goals), but also in the 2nd league (83/33). The 36-year-old closely follows what is happening in the House of Commons and does not give good forecasts for HSV.

Martin Harnik in the FOCUS online interview: “For HSV it is about almost everything”

ONLINE FOCUS: Mr. Harnik, how much are you looking forward to playing the match at the Volksparkstadion?

Martin Harnik: As for the weather, I would have liked it to be a little milder, it will definitely be a little uncomfortable. But the game has a lot to offer. Two of the best teams in the league face each other. It's about a lot. For HSV it is almost everything. They need the victory to continue putting pressure on Fortuna Düsseldorf. Kiel, in turn, could make plans for the Bundesliga if successful. It would be hell if the Kiel team fell from one of the top two places. I expect a game with an open mind, especially from HSV.

Is Holstein Kiel already in a luxury situation because they don't have to take on all the risks?

Harnik: In any case, Kiel can and will play freely. They can also live very well with a tie in the table and also have the streak on their side. They are on the move and there is an absolutely positive atmosphere in the club. There is not much pressure because the club is not condemned to promotion. Of course, in the current situation, every player has a big goal in mind and wants to achieve it.

Harnik: Teams like HSV have more potential than Kiel, but…

Has the competition underestimated the Kiel team for a long time?

Harnik: Clubs like Kiel and St. Pauli simply have a big advantage. These teams never announce their promotion goal before the season, but only communicate it internally. Things are different at the big league clubs, such as HSV, Schalke, Hertha, Hannover and Düsseldorf. In fact, these teams have more potential than Kiel and St. Pauli. Kiel and St. Pauli can therefore continue to work calmly and peacefully, even in the face of setbacks.

You yourself live in Hamburg. Has the atmosphere around HSV changed over the course of the season? If we don't get promotion we would already be in the seventh year of the second division…

Harnik: A slight disappointment has set in. In recent years, Tim created Walter (Editor's note: former coach) and Jonas Boldt (sports director) a very strong identification with the club. Attractive football was also played. The number of spectators and support also speaks for it.

The signing of Steffen Baumgart caused another stir. But the results were not so promising. However, the support is enormous, although now the spirit has cooled a little. Now the question is whether this fire can be rekindled in the final days of the season.

Harnik: Baumgart's signing generated expectations, but results are lacking

Baumgart defends exactly these virtues: he should with his Power to help HSV stay in the league…

Harnik: It cannot be denied that boys do not want to or fight. But I notice that many players do not have self-confidence on the field. It is not shown and no mistakes are made. People play very discouraged, many are afraid of making mistakes. If players don't allow mistakes, nothing big can happen.

The technical team has to start from these points. The team needs a broad chest. This has not happened so far with Baumgart. The last game in Magdeburg, precisely, showed that they can do it. But by then they had their backs to the wall and had nothing to lose.

Would you like certain players in the game to take on more responsibility?

Harnik: Joy does not depend only on the protagonists. Each player has to bring their qualities to the field and do their job. For example, Sebastian Schonlau and Jonas Meffert are not responsible for the preparation of the game. Its objective is to put stability into play. The offensive team's job, however, is to demand the ball and find solutions. HSV's game as a whole is too uncreative. I lack courage.

Jonas Boldt created a lot of things in the club and also made HSV healthy. Do you still need to reconsider many things after the next missed raise?

Harnik: He created a great identification with the team and the club. This is also Boldt's great achievement. But in the end every year the great objective was lost.

Harnik on a possible official career in football: “We should never say never”

Do you still believe that HSV will get promoted?

Harnik: I would definitely like it. But I don't think the three clubs ahead of HSV are really making mistakes and leaving much behind. Unfortunately I don't see that.

Could another attempt with Baumgart succeed?

Harnik: You absolutely have to give it time. You should continue with it. Anything else would be foolish. This is also the first time he has done a preseason with the team. However, I expected the results to be better from the beginning, and he surely expected them too.

You yourself, as an entrepreneur, Podcaster and active expert. Can you imagine returning to professional football in an official role?

Harnik: Currently I feel very comfortable in my position and working for myself. I can organize my time very flexibly. But I still notice that I'm watching a lot more football again and that it interests me a lot. You should never say never. But I still can't imagine it right now.

Martin Harnik, thank you very much for the interview!

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