Third In 2. Bundesliga – But The Head Coach Is Fired

Hamburg have sacked head coach Tim Walter, despite sitting third in the current 2. Bundesliga table.

The 1983 European Cup winners are amongst a clutch of teams seeking to reach the promised land of the Bundesliga, but they’re currently playing second fiddle to St Pauli, five points head of them in the table. The leaders lost this weekend, but Die Rothosen were unable to capitalise as they also dropped points, losing 4-3 at home against Hannover. That was the second such reverse in the space of a fortnight, with Karlsruhe also winning 4-3 at the Volksparkstadion.

The game was overshadowed by protests by Hannover supporters in the away end, resulting in 16 minutes of injury time at the end of the game. Having levelled the game at 3-3 in the 86th minute, Hamburg had Laszlo Benes sent off before Hannover grabbed the winner. There was still time for another red card, Dennis Hadzikadunic becoming the second home goalscorer to be sent off. The result meant three home defeats in a row for Hamburg, enough for Walter to lose his job.

“HSV have reacted to the team’s inconsistent performances in the second half of the season by relieving head coach Tim Walter and his assistants Julian Hübner and Filip Tapalovic of their duties with immediate effect,” read a statement on the club website.

“Merlin Polzin will take charge of training and the upcoming away game on Saturday (17 February) on an interim basis.”

Walter had been in charge of Hamburg since 2021 and has overseen two third-placed finishes. However, third is not enough for a side currently in the second tier for only the first spell in their history. Fan discontent was evident upon completion of the Hannover defeat, a result that left the visitors just three points behind Walter’s side.

Attention will now seemingly turn to former FC Koln and Paderborn boss Steffen Baumgart. He took Paderborn back to the Bundesliga with successive promotions during his time there and is an early front-runner for the job. He was reportedly a contender for the job when Walter took over but had already agreed on the move to Koln.

Site Opinion

What is failure? For sides such as Holstein Kiel and Greuther Furth, finishing third wouldn’t be classed as a failure. For Hamburg, beaten 6-1 on aggregate by Stuttgart in last season’s play-off, and 2-1 by Hertha BSC the season before, third is certainly no success.

Walter wasn’t doing a terrible job – yes, they’ve lost three home games on the spin, but in the same spell, they’ve won three away games, beating Schalke and Hertha, and prior to that, held then-unbeaten leaders St Pauli 2-2. Also, those three home defeats are their only home defeats of the season – they had won all seven of their other home matches. It feels a bit like he might have been hard done by.

Tim Walter will almost certainly resurface in the German second tier again soon, but will Hamburg and whoever they choose to appoint resurface in the top flight next season? Their next three games include the bottom two sides and the midtable, inconsistent Elversberg. You can’t help but think with Walter, or without him, seven points were entirely possible, maybe even nine. That would certainly be a decent springboard, especially seeing as Kiel and St Pauli meet each other during that period.

 

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