Vincent Kompany underlined his reputation as one of Europe's best young defenders whilst at Hamburg. - © Imago
Vincent Kompany underlined his reputation as one of Europe's best young defenders whilst at Hamburg. - © Imago
2. Bundesliga, bundesliga

Vincent Kompany: The Hamburg years


A legend in the eyes of Anderlecht and Manchester City fans, Vincent Kompany once enjoyed a two-year stint in the Bundesliga with Hamburg. recounts the retired Belgian defender-turned-coach's time at the Volksparkstadion now that he's back in the Bundesliga as Bayern Munich boss.

The backstory

"We've been watching Vincent's progress for a long time. He's a special player and we're delighted that he has signed for HSV," said then Hamburg sporting director Dietmar Beiersdorfer following Kompany's June 2006 transfer from boyhood club Anderlecht. "He's impressed at domestic, European and international level, proving that he has all the qualities we're looking for."

Aged just 20 at the time, Kompany had already won two Jupiler Pro League titles, played in the UEFA Champions League and earned his first 14 senior international caps. In 2004, he was also named Belgian football's Player of the Year, and was seen as the ideal replacement for compatriot Daniel Van Buyten, who had left the Red Shorts for Bayern Munich.

Kompany joined Hamburg as one of football's brightest defensive prospects. - Imago

The debut season

Kompany got his Hamburg career off to a flying start, with a debut goal against Hertha Berlin in the intermediate stage of the Ligapokal - a now defunct pre-season domestic cup competition. He then helped HSV successfully negotiate their Champions League play-off with Osasuna, either side of taking his Bundesliga bow on Matchday 1 of 2006/07, in a 1-1 draw with Arminia Bielefeld.

However, Kompany was restricted to just eight more appearances up to 1 November 2006. Physical setbacks had already forced him to miss three league fixtures, Hamburg's DFB Cup first-round loss to Stuttgarter Kickers, and a 4-1 Champions League defeat at Porto, before an Achilles tendon injury brought a premature end to his debut campaign in Dino colours.

Unusually for a central defender, Kompany wore the No.10 shirt at HSV. - Imago

The comeback

Having watched his team exit the Champions League in the groups and finish seventh domestically in 2006/07, Kompany returned to full fitness in time to start their UEFA Intertoto Cup tie against Moldovan side Dacia - notching an assist in the second leg victory - and the 1-0 win over northern rivals Hannover on Bundesliga Matchday 1 of 2007/08. HSV followed that up with three points against Bayer Leverkusen, and a UEFA Cup play-off aggregate win over Hungary's Honvéd, but their unbeaten run was ended in Bochum, not helped by Kompany's 60th-minute red card.

The Belgian served a one-match ban for the ensuing 1-1 draw with Van Buyten's Bayern, and then missed a handful of games owing to a hamstring complaint. He was sent off once more, this time for two yellow cards in the Matchday 25 draw in Wolfsburg, but by then had celebrated his first Bundesliga goal and assist, against Duisburg and Bochum respectively. The 6'2" defender was also on target in the UEFA Cup group stage, against Brann.

Kompany won nine and drew 11 of his 29 Bundesliga outings, losing the other nine. - Imago

The departure and next steps

All told, Kompany made 37 of his total 51 competitive appearances for Hamburg during the 2007/08 season, helping them to a fourth-placed finish in the Bundesliga. They also reached the DFB Cup quarter-finals and UEFA Cup round of 16. He made his final outing for the Port City outfit on the opening weekend of the 2008/09 Bundesliga campaign, playing 58 minutes of a 2-2 draw in Munich.

On 22 August 2008, Kompany completed a switch to Man City on a four-year deal. He went on to win 10 trophies for the budding English giants, including four Premier League titles, before returning to Anderlecht in summer 2019. Since hanging up his playing boots in 2020, the Uccle native has coached Anderlecht and England's Burnley, steering the latter back to the Premier League in 2022.

Relegation followed at the end of the 2023/24 campaign but Kompany still earned plenty of plaudits for Burnley's style of play and his tactical acumen. So much so that Bayern came calling at the end of May to announce the 38-year-old as their new head coach, bringing Kompany on a near full circle journey back to Germany.