Tim Walter is no longer HSV coach after almost three years. In the end you are left with helplessness and great gratitude.
So now it has really happened, Tim Walter and HSV have separated. The once again spectacular 3:4 defeat against Hannover 96 on Friday evening was the famous straw that broke the camel’s back. More results and not just experience, that was the approach the 48-year-old had taken before the season. It worked well at the beginning of the season: At the start, HSV triumphed 5-3 over Schalke 04, got 13 out of 15 points from the first five games and clearly moved to the top of the table. And that despite missing the climb shortly before under extremely dramatic conditions.
But then: bitter bankruptcies in Elversberg and Osnabrück. A wild 3:3 in Kaiserslautern. In Kiel, HSV caught up 0-2 only to ultimately lose 2-4. Now three home defeats in a row with a total of ten goals conceded. That’s not enough for advancement. Tim Walter was probably the best coach HSV has had in a long time – he is just no longer the right trainer for the big goal of the Bundesliga.
HSV is fun again – thanks to Tim Walter
103 games, 55 wins, 218 goals and 1.82 points on average, that’s the balance at the end. The term lasted 956 days, the last time Frank Pagelsdorf (1997–2001) managed more more than 20 years ago. Tim Walter led HSV to the cup semi-finals and twice into relegation.
And he gave the former Bundesliga dinosaur a face again and brought his very own style of play to the pitch with the “Walterball”. Top performers like Ludovit Reis and Robert Glatzel stayed in Hamburg because of him. After turbulent years with frequent coaching changes, realignments, relegation and fourth places in league two, it was Tim Walter who, together with sports director Jonas Boldt, was finally able to ensure consistency and unity in a turbulent environment.
You could let your boys run naked across the pitch and still know that HSV was playing, Walter once said. The “Rothosen” have once again become a fun club that fans and players can strongly identify with.
The Volksparkstadion is almost constantly sold out, up to 20,000 people go to away games, and HSV has broken the 100,000 member mark. Still being a top team in the second division after so many years without promotion is not a given. Tim Walter and his rousing, emotional manner – which sometimes appears arrogant on the outside – play a large part in this.
HSV under Tim Walter: strong in character, but wild at the back
But there wasn’t much left of the offensively dominant and defensively stable “Walterball”. Walter, contrary to what critics accused him of, did adapt his system – in the end perhaps even so much that it became his downfall. Where HSV initially had the best defense in the league, there have recently been far too many individual errors and tactical inaccuracies.
Of course, it is also the responsibility of the professionals to work on this – but the coach apparently lacked the means to effectively address HSV’s weaknesses. Getting up again and again and showing strength of character was no longer enough as Plan A. Instead, a feeling of helplessness crept in more and more often. Things were slowly starting to get crunchy behind the scenes: there had already been rumors about a layoff at Christmas. Now, shortly after the end of the winter transfer phase, the bosses finally lack confidence in Tim Walter to achieve promotion – there is therefore no alternative to parting ways.
HSV needs a low-risk impulse with a guarantee of promotion
However, a complete realignment in the middle of the season would be risky. A new coach who comes from outside would have to be like Tim Walter and have a “guarantee of promotion”.
It is quite possible that the new coach is already wearing the diamond: Assistant coach Merlin Polzin is considered a talent and is said to have great tactical expertise. He knows the Walter School inside out and previously learned under Daniel Thioune.
It could give new impetus without tearing down everything that Tim Walter has built. The fact that this can work has been proven for a year now by the city’s neighbor St. Pauli with Fabian Hürzeler – exceptionally the great role model for HSV because it is ready for the Bundesliga.