Hamburg captain Rafael van der Vaart has sounded the war cry by suggesting that the Imtech Arena outfit will be playing Bundesliga football next season.
Mirko Slomka’s side, who have been lingering at the foot of the Bundesliga for the past few months, lost 3-2 away to Mainz on Saturday meaning that the northern powerhouse of German football will have to settle for the dreaded play-off position.
Hamburg’s narrow defeat to Mainz ended a thoroughly miserable season for the 1982 UEFA Cup winners, who were only able to secure seven victories all season, and must now go head to head against second division Greuter Furth to decide which club will be competing in the Bundesliga next season.
Indeed, it could have been much worse for Hamburg who are somewhat fortunate to have their aspirations of playing first tier football next season still very much in their own hands.
Had FC Nuremberg done the unlikely and secured three points away against Schalke 04, then it would have been the seven times Bundesliga champions to have contested in the second tier of German football next season, and not the Bavarian outfit.
The Red and White shorts who have only managed to secure seven wins all season must now conjure two positive results against Furth, if they are not to be sucked into what could be a financial oblivion for the club, with van der Vaart believing that all is not over yet.
He said: “It is lucky for us that the other teams did not win, and that played into our hands.”
“We still have another chance and we are going to do everything we can to achieve our ultimate goal. The aim is to stay in the league.”
These words of encouragement have also been echoed by striker Pierre – Michel Lasogga who has admitted that it was fortunate for the club that neither FC Nuremberg nor Eintracht Braunschweig, the two teams occupying the automatic relegation zone were able to pick up any points.
However, the U21 Germany international believes that Hamburg have enough quality to beat Furth and condemn them to a further season in the second Bundesliga.
He said: “On our day we have the quality to beat everyone. We must also have the belief that we capable of completing this task.”
However, these words of sadistic optimism have not been shared by Slomka, the third manager set the impossible task of saving Hamburg’s blushes this season, who feels that the club’s recent results are not reflective of their overall quality.
He said: “We have not been rewarded for the great amounts of effort that the whole team put in today.”
“We are fortunate enough that the other teams around us did not win, and it could have been very different. If we were relegated then that would have annoyed me for all the effort that we have put in recently.”
The 46 year old who has experienced success at both Schalke 04 and Hannover 96 in recent years is yet to suffer relegation as a manager, but believes that the club have made a small step towards their goal of playing Bundesliga football next season.
“Before the game our goal was to demonstrate our quality as a team in our last fixture of the season. I think that we have made this small step.”
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