Now the HSV restarts. For 36 days, professionals and coach Tim Walter were able to relax during the winter holidays, traveled to the United States, Zanzibar, Dubai and Costa Rica. From Monday, the focus is on preparing for the 17 decisive matches of the second half of the season. HSV will start the promotion race from second place in 2023. Will the big league favorites achieve their clearly stated and long-awaited goal and return to the Bundesliga this summer? Before practice begins at the Volkspark, MOPO answers four important questions that fans are concerned about.
How is the first day of training going?
Around noon, the players’ parking lot in front of the Volksparkstadion will fill up again, and then the winter holidays for the pros will officially end. From 2 p.m., things happen on the training ground. In all likelihood with a full group: until Sunday included no professional had signed, for the first time in a long time the whole team could take part in collective training (with the exception of Mario Vuskovic, suspended by the DFB ). However, it is possible that some professionals who were working individually before the holidays after injuries (Heyer, Jatta, Leibold) will also take a little less time on Monday.
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HSV has just under four weeks to prepare for the second half of the season. All other second division clubs have long since returned to training. The competition came to a halt after the end of the first half of November in mid-November well before HSV, who were still traveling in the United States.
What’s next for Vuskovic?
It is well known that hope dies last. But at HSV everyone knows how serious the situation is. After Mario Vuskovic’s A and B tests came back positive, the Croatian is considered a sinful dope. In the next few days, he will be received by the DFB Post and will know when the hearing before the sports court of the association will take place.
From a purely legal point of view, the facts are clear at the moment. Since Vuskovic is considered convicted, he would normally be banned for four years. If the 21-year-old can prove he didn’t dope on purpose, the sentence can be reduced to two years. Vuskovic, however, still hopes to be able to prove his innocence. Procedural errors on the part of the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA), which took the samples in September in the Volkspark, and the DFB could play the game for him. Nothing more than vague hopes for the moment.
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Vuskovic is not allowed to continue training with HSV during his suspension. January is likely to be a fateful month for him in terms of career.
When will new players come to HSV?
With the start of the second half of the season, the distances to HSV are getting shorter again. Coach Walter (47), sports director Jonas Boldt (40) and scouting director Claus Costa (38) are now on site together and will exchange ideas intensively. One thing is certain: HSV will act and strike in winter.
The transfer window has been open since the New Year. The top priority is to sign a Vuskovic replacement for central defence. There have been no advanced negotiations with any player yet, at best there is only slight interest – like with Jan Elvedi from Regensburg (26), who, however, should only become a problem if several other strings break. It’s possible that Boldt will use his good contacts in the Bundesliga and loan out a player.
And what about a new striker who does well as a replacement for Robert Glatzel (28)? In fact, the HSV wanted to act in winter. However, the little money available could now be fully used for the defense field. Whether there is coal left for the storm remains to be seen.
Will Kittel become important again for HSV?
Never mind his success rate this season: Sonny Kittel is one of HSV’s most dazzling players because on a good day he can delight fans like no other. The problem: There were very few of these days in the first part of the season. The striker, who turns 30 on Friday, did not score. Will Kittel be important again?
Kittel has failed to score 23 consecutive competitive games, a total of 1525 minutes. This has never happened in his career. But any speculation of a change was denied by HSV at the start of the winter break. Kittel stays and faces a breakthrough semester. His HSV contract ends this summer, and an extension with the highest income (should earn around 800,000 euros per year) is currently difficult to imagine. That could change if Kittel shoots properly again. One thing is clear: if all the professionals are in good shape, the competition for him for the positions in question is fierce. In addition to Kittel, Tim Leibold (29) is also playing for a new contract.
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