Hamburg - Heung-Min Son waited patiently in the mixed zone at the Imtech Arena, watching highlights of the afternoon's other top-flight encounters until his sporting director Frank Arnesen had finished answering questions from the assembled press. Then it was Son's turn - the man of the moment, whose 63rd-minute strike had just secured Hamburger SV a 1-0 home victory over 1. FSV Mainz 05.
Right place, right time
HSV have scored twelve goals in the league this season, and Son has bagged precisely half of them. The 20-year-old South Korean forward is emerging as one of the pivotal figures in coach Thorsten Fink's revamped team, but he is not one for hogging the limelight. "My goals are for the team, not myself," he stated simply after the final whistle on Saturday.
In fact, Son would be perfectly entitled to give himself a pat on the back in light of his recent exploits. His match-winner against Mainz was a real poacher's strike, of which he said: "I had kind of a feeling about where the ball from Maxi [Beister, ed.] was going to come in, so I just ran into the space."
At the moment, Fink most often deploys the Chuncheon native in a wide attacking midfield role. Many analysts believe he would be even more effective as an out-and-out frontman, although for Son himself all such debate is peripheral. "I've got used to this position. I played there under [former HSV coach] Armin Veh as well. I don't care where I'm used, I just want to play football," the crowd favourite attested.
At any rate, Son's latest goal keeps HSV on course for the seven-point target Fink had set for the trio of games against SC Freiburg (0-0), Mainz and next time out at Fortuna Düsseldorf. Indeed, as one of a clutch of sides currently on 17 points, the Red Shorts are right in the mix in the race for UEFA Europa League places at this still-early stage of the campaign.
Another scoring contribution from Son in Friday's Matchday 13 opener at Düsseldorf could of course help keep them moving in the right direction. His current six-goal tally is already one more than he managed in 27 games last season. And he did admit that "fans back in South Korea are probably getting pretty excited" about his ongoing rich vein of form.
For his own part, however, Son is keeping it deliberately low-key. "I had big plans for last season, and they didn't work out," he explained. "So I'm not going to set any specific targets. I am going to be putting in even more work, though, because I want to score a lot more goals."
Fortuna's defenders will, of course, be doing everything in their power to prevent the pacy, tricky frontman adding further to his total on Friday evening. Should they fail, Son may once again be the media's go-to-guy after the final whistle in Düsseldorf.
Michael Reis in Hamburg