On this Saturday evening (8.30 p.m.) the Karlsruher SC once again welcomes Hamburger SV in the wildlife park. And when HSV comes, every KSC fan will probably think back to June 1st, 2015.
KSC coach Christian Eichner is very familiar with painful defeats against Hamburger SV. He still has the 7-0 defeat of KSC in Hamburg on the last match day of the 2007/2008 Bundesliga season, in which he was on the pitch, in his head and “the Sportschau reporter is still in his ear”. It was a hearty rubdown that the North Baden conceded against HSV at the time. But the KSC experienced what was probably the bitterest in 2015.
2015 – A relegation to be forgotten
In the relegation first leg (1: 1), Karlsruher SC led until the 73rd minute through a goal from Rouwen Hennings. A class difference was not really noticeable. From KSC’s point of view, the second leg on June 1, 2015 was based on “Murphys law”: What can go wrong, goes wrong. Again, KSC was in the front thanks to Reinhold Yabo’s goal from the 78th minute of the game. Then the first minute of stoppage time ran and Jonas Meffert jumped the ball – from close range – to his hand. Referee Manuel Gräfe decided on a direct free kick, which Marcelo Diaz flicked from around 18 meters in a central position to equalize in the left corner. Renewal!
Extension – 20 minutes roller coaster ride
This extension is likely to have accelerated the aging process for all involved. In the 115th minute, Nicolai Müller made it 2-1 for HSV. KSC was down and would now have needed two goals for the ascent. Then the third minute of stoppage time: hand penalty for Karlsruhe and the chance for a penalty shoot-out. But René Adler saved the shot from Rouwen Hennings. Seconds later it was over. The KSC remained in the 2nd division, the HSV remained a Bundesliga club – for the time being. “We gave everything today, we were on the winning road up to the 90th minute. If you get a free kick that you can whistle, you don’t have to. The fans supported us, we played a great season,” said a disappointed Rouwen Hennings after the game. KSC manager Jens Todt didn’t spare criticism of the referee’s address: “Such a dramaturgy couldn’t be worse. You can’t whistle a free kick like that. Our player turns away. That’s absolute madness. Open your eyes when choosing a career . ” “That was a deep blow and a turning point in my career,” said Karlsruhe defender Daniel Gordon, who is currently still playing for KSC.
Instead of going back to the Bundesliga, the KSC even went down to the third division two years later as a result of the relegation drama. Several top performers such as Rouwen Hennings, Philipp Max or Reinhold Yabo had left the club in the meantime. But the relationship between KSC and HSV has long been a special one even off the field.
Interplay between KSC and HSV
Sports director Oliver Kreuzer, for example, left Baden in the summer of 2013 with a lot of excitement and a lot of background noise for Hamburg, before he returned to the wildlife park in December 2016 after a stopover at 1860 Munich. Jens Todt, who had succeeded Kreuzer in Karlsruhe, later also moved to HSV. And before him the former Karlsruhe top talent Hakan Calhanoglu. Christian Eichner’s good friend and best man, the former KSC professional Michael Mutzel, has also been working in the sports management of HSV since April 2019.
Outlook on the game
In the floodlit game against the team of the former KSC youth coach Tim Walter, the KSC is hoping for a sold out wildlife park stadium with 20,000 spectators. “The game will decide the attitude. How ready am I to protect my goal,” warns KSC coach Christian Eichner. His team will automatically get chances due to the dominant style of play of the Hanseatic League. “But we have to find a good mix to beat an opponent like HSV,” he demanded. For neutral viewers, the Hamburg games are always quite entertaining. “But that also has its limits. Because my team has quality. They are strong enough. We will be prepared,” promised the 38-year-old. After two league defeats recently, a home three in the wildlife park would be good for the mood, the table and who knows, maybe also for coping with history !?