It was zero points like any other loss, but a heavy psychological blow to Hamburg’s hopes of qualifying for Europe next season.
With three defeats in their last five matches, that objective remains alive in theory, but in practice, coach Thorsten Fink has a tough task on his hands lifting his players back up after such a pounding. “I have no explanation for it,” said Westermann. “I’m ashamed to wear this shirt in this game and to have been part of it. I’m ashamed for the team.”
Like it or not, Westermann’s name will now go down in the history books along with his team mates for the heaviest defeat in the northern Germany club’s history, equalling the 9-2 humiliation they suffered in the same city to Bayern’s neighbours TSV 1860 Munich in 1964, and it’s a defeat which will live long in the German international’s memory. “You can’t look any worse than we did,” he continued. “The performance is inexplicable. This is one of the blackest days in the history of HSV and I’m sorry for the fans who have come all the way here, or seen such a game on the television.”
Hamburg arguably hit a lower ebb earlier this season when their unblemished record as the only club to have remained in the Bundesliga throughout its 50-year existence appeared to be under threat. A mid-season recovery does at least mean those worries no longer persist, but try telling that to Westermann and Co. “We can be happy that we already have 38 points,” he said. “It’s going to be hard enough to lift ourselves up after a defeat like this.”
That is what they must now do, though, with a pivotal European qualification clash with SC Freiburg on the agenda next Saturday, and a hard week of work and reflection to come. “We’ve got to find some clear words this week because it’s clearly not on to think that we can attack now and again without doing anything at the back,” said the former FC Schalke 04 stopper. “What this means is we have to ruffle our feathers because for me personally and for HSV, this was too little.”
Gregor Nentwig from the Allianz Arena / Ben Gladwell reporting