- Gisdol "briefly startled, but with joy" at HSV appointment
- 47-year-old replaces Bruno Labbadia, who was relieved of his duties after Matchday 5.
- Gisdol was last in charge of TSG 1899 Hoffenheim.
“Briefly startled – with joy,” was how Markus Gisdol described his reaction to being offered the post of Hamburger SV head coach.
And just in case anyone present for his official unveiling at the Volksparkstadion had not yet grasped how delighted he is with his new job he added, “Hamburg's a really great number, I can't wait to get started. This is a truly fantastic club.”
The new man's seemingly boundless enthusiasm certainly contrasted with the increasingly gloomy atmosphere that had attached itself to the Bundesliga's only ever-present member over the course of the opening five matchdays. An initial home draw with FC Ingolstadt 04 was followed by five straight losses, including Gisdol's first match in charge of the club - a 2-0 defeat at high-flying Hertha Berlin.
Gisdol thus becomes the 15th man to occupy the Hamburg hot seat in the past twelve years. Each of his predecessors arrived bearing the promise of a return to better days for the 1983 European champions. None of them managed anything more than an invariably illusory and short-lived revival. The new man “can't promise an overnight improvement,” but along with his assistants will “try to gradually implement our own football concept.”
A concept the 47-year-old Swabian refined and developed in spells, among others, as coach of VfB Stuttgart's U17s, 1899 Hoffenheim reserves and in an assistant role with FC Schalke 04 before landing the main job at Hoffenheim in 2013. There, he earned himself a reputation as a canny strategist well capable of gelling a young group of players into a potent attacking unit. At Hamburg they hope he can do a similar job of transforming a squad comprehensively rejuvenated over the summer into a cohesive, attractive and effective whole.
Rather than indulging in “big promises and declarations” he has, at his own volition, penned an initial contract valid only until the end of the season. That, given the current precarious circumstances, he considers “appropriate. The club can then take a calm and collected look at what I've done and decide whether there's a basis there for a longer-term arrangement.”
Propping up the rest of the league with just a single point so far, president Dietmar Beiersdorfer is all too aware that the club face a “very, very challenging situation.” He is not alone in fervently hoping that Markus Gisdol will prove the man to finally bring a spell of lasting success – and concomitant contentment – back to the football city of Hamburg.