What seemed to be an upturn in fortunes when head coach Bert van Marwijk took charge was only temporary as the Red Shorts dropped to just above the bottom three at the year's end. bundesliga.com summarises their campaign thus far.
After several years of underperforming, 2013/14 was meant to be the season in which Hamburger SV returned to Europe, yet the year has ended with renewed disappointment. Torsten Fink was unable to strike the right chord with his talented troop, leading to Bert van Marwijk's arrival. Yet after a bright start, Hamburg's fortunes have once again taken a turn for the worse, resulting in another unwanted relegation battle.
suffered a series of setbacks with Hertha Berlin after ending the 2010/11 season with 13 goals in 25 appearances. A knee injury restricted him to just seven outings, and one goal, in Bundesliga 2 last year and he was subsequently sent out on loan to Hamburg in the summer. There, he has hit top form, finding the back of the net nine times in just 13 games, begging the question where Hamburg would be right now without the 22-year-old.
It does not take a genius to work out where Hamburg need to improve in 2014. With 38 goals conceded, the Bundesliga's only ever-present club have let in more at this juncture than in any first half of a season since 1987/88, when they conceded 39. By comparison, in 2012/13, when HSV ended the calendar year in 10th, they conceded 21, going on to let in a further 32 in the second half of the campaign, including nine against FC Bayern.
One of the emerging stars of Hamburg's season so far has been Hakan Calhanoglu (see below), and hs progression even suprised former coach Fink. "I told him he should score a goal – not two!" he told Sky television after Calhanoglu announced himself on the Bundesliga scene with a brace against Braunschweig on Matchday 4.
Many of Europe's largest clubs have cast their eyes over Hakan Calhanoglu, and not only because of those two goals against Braunschweig. According to Fink, the 19-year-old is part of a "group of rascals" who can lead the northern Germany club back onto the European stage. The Turkish attacking midfielder has Rafael van der Vaart leading him step by step on the way to stardom and with five goals and two assists so far this season, he is well on the way to greatness.