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It really is the hope that kills you

Yesterday saw the team at the bottom on Bundesliga 2, Würzburger Kickers, travel north to play Hamburger SV, who have started the season with four straight wins and sat atop the table. Kickers having just picked up a solitary point, it looked a foregone conclusion that HSV would dispatch the team promoted from the 3. Liga with ease.

At half time then, with the visiting team leading through a 40th minute goal, Kickers fans (which include half of the Samstag 1530 editorial team) were pinching themselves and dreaming of an improbable upset which would kickstart their season. HSV had played poorly in the first half and Würzburg were good value for their lead.

Whatever half time talk HSV Coach Daniel Thioune delivered certainly had an effect as they came out a completely different team after the break. Kickers suddenly looked vulnerable and had to mount a rearguard action to maintain their lead. Eventually the pressure told and Simon Terodde, newly arrived from Cologne in the summer, and with over 100 goals during his career at this level, equalised on 65 minutes. He then put Hamburg in the lead with just under 10 minutes to go, which extinguished the visitors hope of getting anything out of the game. An injury time goal made it 3-1 and the scoreline reflected the relative league positions of the teams going into the fixture.

HSV are now five points clear of second place Kiel and can possibly start thinking about the return to the Bundesliga which has consumed the club since their relegation to the second tier in 2018. However fans would be foolish to get carried away as the previous two seasons have begun very well, only to fade badly in the home straight. There is still a long way to go in this most unusual of seasons.

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