Back in the month of September, Hamburger SV were staring down the barrel having lost their third straight BuLi game to Frankfurt. Under-pressure management, under-pressure coach and hosting the defending champions in their next game, the near future didn’t look bright for the club celebrating its 125th anniversary. Fast forward a month and the grass looks a lot greener. Just one defeat in the league and wins over Dortmund and Hannover have precariously placed them 7th in the table and with a strong shout for European football next season.

The sleeping Dinosaur has finally woken up and a lot of this has been attributed to the signings of van der Vaart, Jiracek and Badelj in the last week of August but the best piece of business was done long back, when a 16 year old school drop out joined the academy. Son Heung Min has come a long way and so have Hamburger SV in the past few weeks. Can’t be a coincidence, can it?

Son Heung Min Bundes LigaThe game against Dortmund is where it all started. With a tension filled atmosphere in the Imtech Arena, Hamburg raced away to an early lead with Son scoring a header with two minutes gone but the lack of self belief was visible as Dortmund came back stronger. Two Perisic and two Hamburg goals later, Hamburg had snapped Dortmund’s 31 match winning streak and Son and van der Vaart were in the thick of the action, with two goals and two assists respectively. The signing of the Dutchman was seen as a major coup but with Rudnevs and Berg not in the best of form, the attack looked toothless.

It was Son who stood up and shone in a high profile and tense home game and eased the increasing pressure on the management. And not for the first time. Even last season when Hamburg were struggling to keep their feet in the top tier Son popped up with crucial goals against Hannover and Nurnberg, helping Hamburg stay afloat and make it to the 50th edition of the Bundesliga. So what is it that makes Son such a key player in the side?

Firstly, Son glues the attack. He involves players, makes runs and eventually makes good use of Rafael van der Vaart’s passing and shots from distance. The problem with Hamburg usually lies in the fact that Rudnevs is fairly poor at holding the ball leading the line, and this is where Son becomes handy. He not only holds play when required but also makes brilliant runs. Drawing players out of position is perhaps the most unnoticed art in football, but the way it can open up spaces in the opponent defence can only be seen to be believed.

Add to that Son’s excellent heading ability and his brilliant leap and Hamburg have got a precious talent in their hands. As for now his finishing is far from what would be expected of a striker and remains one of his weakest suites. After having been out on the sidelines for most of the last season, the South Korean attacker has taken time to gel up with his teammates and his below par performances against Bremen and Nurnberg can be attributed to that. In a short span of time a better understanding has now blossomed between him and the rest of the players, and his involvement in the build up play is there for all to see.

In their 2-0 win at Augsburg on Friday, Rudnevs set Son up for the goal, and there were a number of brilliant link ups between van der Vaart, Rudnevs and Son himself. The fact that Son has the uncanny tendency to show up in the big games doesn’t go unnoticed either. Taking nothing away from VDV whose mere presence seems to have stirred up the dressing room and the team’s performances, Son looks like the most important piece of Thorsten Fink’s puzzle.

For all his interplay and movement, taking a punt from range adds to the lack of predictability he offers. The one thing Fink might look to educate the 20 year old about, is to stay wide against teams defending narrowly and thus crowding the central channels. Improvement in crossing and finishing will only make him more and more influential in the team.

Hamburg fans would be hoping the positive showings aren’t just another phase in what has been a painful and forgettable recent past. With only sporadic success throughout their 125 year history, the occasion couldn’t get bigger for Hamburg in this historic 50th edition of the Bundesliga, each of which has involved The Dinosaur. Though in those attempts, to achieve anything substantial they would need their best players to perform to their best, the most important of which happens to be a 20 year old South Korean. More of those left footed strikes please.

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4 Responses to “Son Heung Min : More Important To HSV Than Van Der Vaart?”

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  1. HSV4ever says:

    HSV manager is Thorsten Fink, not Thomas Fink

  2. Hsvenglish says:

    People Watching highlights of hsv matches probably think that, but there is no way this is true. It’s awesome that he’s scored 5 goals, but VdV and Rudnevs have just as many scorer points becuase Son has no assists. He’s had a couple of awesome games, but a couple of really dreadful ones too. He has had games where he won 3/20 duels and completely slows down the attack when he can’t shoot. He has tons of talent and can shoot on both feet beautifully, but he’s also incredibly frustrating. VdV will often have triple the touches and passes completed than Son.

    • Debarshee Mitra says:

      Possible, but Son has been a big match player and been a crucial element in HSV’s revival. Though I agree with you, Rudnevs and VdV have been more involved.