Well we lost at Arsenal, and picked up a few injuries so we wait with baited breath regarding thursdays team for Hamburg.
Here's Neil Shaw's he It's a Fix extract from KK 169, now safely at the printers and hopefully out for the home game with Hamburg :
Now here’s a funny thing: the last time Manchester City featured in a UEFA Cup quarter final, Liverpool were League Champions and Hamburg won the German Bundesliga. At the time of writing, both clubs are mounting a late surge for their first title success in decades.
Alternatively, City were knocked out by the eventual winners and didn’t face European opposition for another twenty four years. Clutching at straws is a City specialty, but surely it won’t be 2033 before our next overseas venture?
HSV Hamburg are the only team in Germany to boast continual top flight football since the inception of the Bundesliga in 1963. They have a clock on their website which tallies up the time down to the second that they’ve spent in the Bundesliga! They were formed in 1887 and their logo, Die Raute (The Diamond) is universally recognised. History has it that British sailors first introduced football to Hamburg, as they used to have a kick-about at the waterfront while waiting for their ships to unload.
Indeed the club have an affinity with Rangers dating back to the early seventies and strengthened by Celtic’s link with local rivals St Pauli. The Rangers logo is sometimes unveiled at European away games and there is also a friendship with Hannover who have the same initials HSV.
Current coach is of course Martin Jol
Ground is the HSH Nordbank Arena, capacity 57,274, 50,000 for UEFA games. City get 2,800
City connections are Emile Mpenza, Vincent Kompany and Nigel de Jong
Friendlies were played in 1909/10 a 2-0 (Hamburg Vic?), 2002 and 2008 both 1-0 losses.
Famous players from the Figurini Panini football stickers album include Uwe Seeler, Manfred Kaltz, Horst Hrubesch and a certain Kevin Keegan.
Ironically, considering his reputation for disappearing when the going gets tough, Mighty Mouse is still revered in Hamburg for his battling qualities and never say die attitude.
Hrubesch scored the winning goal for West Germany against Belgium in the final of the 1980 European Championships. He also netted the winning penalty in the dramatic World Cup semi-final shootout against France in 1982.
In 1977 Hamburg defeated Anderlecht 2-0 in the final of the European Cup Winners Cup. Indeed the next ten years provided their most successful period with three Bundesliga titles in 1979, 1982 and 1983.
Hamburg’s finest hour arrived in 1983 when a spectacular Felix Magath volley destroyed Juventus and broke the English monopoly of European success. Hamburg were also the losing finalists against Nottingham Forest in a dreadful 1980 Final.
For those supporters who didn’t attend the friendly fixtures in 2002 and 2008, the nearest station to the stadium is called Stellingen and can be found on the S3 and S23 lines from the Haupbahnof (main railway
station). Be prepared for a good twenty minute walk through dimly lit woodland.
At both the World Cup and the 2008 friendly, there was a fan fest outside the ground selling hot food and
alcohol. Typically, the away section is diagonally opposite your point of arrival.
In 2005 I witnessed a UEFA Cup encounter at the AOL Arena. Ironically, Hamburg’s opponents were Danish in the shape of FC Copenhagen.
Hamburg are commonly known as The Red Shorts and last November I joined their supporters club, in order to obtain tickets for their home fixture against Borussia Dortmund. Not surprisingly, the whole experience proved to be cheaper than watching City at Stamford Bridge.
Hamburg won 2-1 and their star player was the Croatian, Miaden Petric. Together with the Peruvian Jose Guerrero he usually leads the attack. Indeed, it was Guerrero who kick started the Hamburg recovery at Galatasaray (0-0 home, 3-2 away after 0-2) in the previous round. Other star players include Ivica Olic and Marcel Jansen.
Hamburg are impressive, but beatable. They are currently chasing a possible treble, but injuries are beginning to take their toll. Petric is struggling and their Brazilian defender Alex Silva tore his calf muscle during their recent victory at Shalke. More importantly, Hamburg face a tricky fixture at Stuttgart on the Sunday before the second Leg at Eastlands. In true sporting style, I hope Stuttgart kick them to bits.
A night in Hamburg is like Blackpool without the binge drinkers and the fight in the taxi queue. The Germans drink to excess, but somehow the alcohol tends to mellow the soul rather than trigger a violent reaction. Indeed, most Englishmen feel a hint of embarrassment when first exposed to the Stag Night capital of Northern Germany.
For nightlife and exotic cabaret look no further than the notorious Reeperbahn. The prices vary, but after three games in Denmark, most City fans won’t be complaining.
The Ninety Nine Cent Bar speaks for itself, but doesn’t open until 8pm. The other cheap bars are on the side streets opposite St Pauli Theatre. Lucky Star is a dimly lit grunge bar selling bottles of beer for two euro’s. For those arriving on the Wednesday, the best Sports bar in Hamburg is owned by a friendly Portuguese entrepreneur and is situated close to the main railway station.
Overall, HSV Hamburg are my favourite German team and I sincerely hope they win the Bundesliga. Their fans are friendly, but in the words of Howard Kendall, I’m married to Manchester City.
To paraphrase their Club song: Hamburg Forever, but not on April 9th or April 16th.
So there you go. To everyone who's going have a great trip, see you over there and let's hope the Blues can do us as proud as at Schalke