The fear of failure had accompanied Hamburger SV for years.
When it came down to it, teams in previous seasons stumbled.
Whether the club management changed something in the squad, changed the coach or the style of play was adjusted, did not seem to have an impact on the success.
Nervous and overpaid, HSV stumbled through the second Bundesliga and made the laughing stock of the fans.
Fourth place came out three times in a row.
Then coach Tim Walter came in the summer of 2021.
And with it a different way of playing and thinking.
The new narrative about the Hamburgers is now titled “courage”.
On Thursday evening after the 1-0 win in the relegation first leg at Hertha BSC in Berlin, you could also hear the words “hunger” or even “greed”.
Walter said: “We were fed up with fourth place.
The way we, as the youngest team in the league, came through here in front of 75,000 spectators deserves every honor.
The guys are so brave and full of conviction, then a performance like this comes out.”
Ludovit Reis scored the goal of the evening in the 57th minute;
it was a cross that was probably intended as a cross, which became longer and longer and dropped over the Berlin goalkeeper Oliver Christensen into the goal.
Nothing has been achieved yet, and the fear of failure can return at any time, because as much as there is to lose on Monday (8:30 p.m. in the FAZ live ticker on the Bundesliga relegation, on Sat.1 and Sky) can change feel like a huge backpack and paralyze the legs.
Remember KSV Holstein from Kiel, who also won 1-0 at 1. FC Köln in the extended season a year ago, but were hopelessly behind after a few minutes in the second leg and then went down 1-5.
But the starting position is different - HSV had won the last five games of the season in the lower house, came to Berlin with the famous "Momentum", was supported by an estimated 20,000 fans in the Olympic Stadium and showed the more mature game system, seemed more compact overall - against a coach Felix Magath coached Hertha, who did little on the offensive.
Nevertheless, Magath said: "We played like a Bundesliga club but didn't find the right line overall.
I still think we can turn it around in the second leg on Monday.”
Often enough, the Hamburgers in the second division had received the receipt for their apparently unalterable ball possession football.
The lack of protection after losing the ball, the susceptibility to counterattacks: HSV also conceded goals under coach Walter.
But in recent months his construct has become more stable because everyone sticks to their task and confidence in the tactics has grown.
The quite safe ball forward and also the joint defensive work on Thursday evening in front of an atmospheric crowd ensured that HSV didn't give up much - but Ishak Belfodil's goal in the 44th minute required luck in order not to fall behind;
he was razor-thin offside.
The unimaginative attacks from Berlin and their build-up over a surprising number of long balls also made it easy for HSV.
There was largely no active pressing, although this is a tried and tested method against HSV, which SC Freiburg, for example, used successfully in the cup semi-finals.
In the end, however, the North Germans were closer to 2-0 than Hertha to the equaliser;
the exchanged Jan Gyamerah still had a good chance in added time.
The Berliners only managed five shots on goal;
they seemed like the unsettled team with something to lose.
In fact, after the final whistle, the Hamburg pros seemed to be the ones looking forward to the second leg rather than worrying about what might happen.
"We are greedy for success, each of us now sees a huge opportunity," said goalkeeper Daniel Heuer Fernandes, who was "sorted out" at HSV before and has now grown into one of the top performers.
The burden of one's own greatness, the fear of embarrassment, well-known Hamburg phenomena - both seem to have been blown away.
The new solidarity with the audience in the season finale provided a decisive impetus.
The team was "carried through the city on hands," said Board Member Jonas Boldt.
Something has grown there.
Now the "comfortable starting position", as Boldt called it, has to be refined.
And should Tim Walter actually manage to minimize the fear of failure in this 36th game of the season, Hamburger SV has a very good chance of leaving the lower house after four often painful years.Keywords: