Hamburg SV upset the odds on Saturday, beating Borussia Dortmund 4-1 at Signal Iduna Park, and keeping their dream of a European place alive. The Red Shorts sit seventh in the Bundesliga, level on 31 points with Freiburg and Mainz above, and continuing an impressive turnaround under Thorsten Fink.
Surprisingly, to most, Hamburg are just eight points off second-place and six outside of the UEFA Champions League positions in the table.
On Matchday 21, Artjoms Rudnevs and Son Heung-Min scored a double each, as Hamburg came from behind against 10-man Dortmund to take the three points. Fink’s side have beaten Dortmund twice this season—scoring seven in the process—and handing the champions their highest home defeat since 2009.
Their defeat against Eintracht Frankfurt last week aside, Hamburg have started the second half of the campaign strongly with a win over Werder Bremen in the Nordderby and a point away to 1.FC Nuremburg.
The “surprise factor” of Hamburg and Fink’s change in tactics—to press higher up the park and force defenders into poor passing—might have been a factor in their impressive win.
Fink told HSV’s official website:
Before the game probably no one had expected the outcome, especially after losing to Frankfurt on the last matchday. We had decided to play boldly and briskly going forward and my team also implemented it great today. We have acted really clever hence we totally deserved to win.
He added later: “When nobody expects us to do it, we can produce things like that.”
So, what are the reasons behind the massive improvement at the Imtech Arena in recent months?