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May 1, 2014

Hamburg hoping to 'annoy' Bayern

ESPN FC's Sid Lowe reveals the reaction in Germany after Bayern Munich's defeat in the Champions League semi-finals.

Hamburg hope to take advantage of a “wounded” Bayern Munich side after the 4-0 home defeat to Real Madrid, with the relegation-battling side’s sporting director telling NDR 90.3: “We can, and we want to, annoy Bayern.”

Bundesliga table
Schaaf: Humiliation in Munich
Honigstein: Madrid just better than Bayern
Marcotti: In defence of tiki-taka

Hamburg, the only club to have played in every season of the Bundesliga since its foundation in 1963, are desperately seeking to avoid the drop and recently turned to a “spirit healer” as they prepare to conclude their season with games against Bayern and Europa League hopefuls Mainz.

As they are five points behind Stuttgart in 15th, their most realistic hope of survival is to finish 16th, which would set up a playoff with the third-placed team from the second tier, but they are likely to need points from their remaining games to avoid dropping into the automatic relegation spots.

Sporting director Oliver Kreuzer had told Hamburger Morgenpost this week he had “a reasonable amount of doubt as to whether this will have a positive ending,” but Pep Guardiola’s side are in the midst of a chastening spell that hit a new low as they exited the Champions League in catastrophic fashion.

Franz Beckenbauer, the honorary Bayern Munich president, said Hamburg should take advantage of that defeat as they seek to end a run of three successive defeats.

“If HSV do not use this chance and a beat a wounded side like FC Bayern then they belong in the second league,” the West Germany legend said while working as a pundit for Sky.

Kreuzer then revealed in a radio interview that, after Tuesday’s result, he had renewed optimism that Hamburg could secure a positive result on Saturday and keep their fate in their own hands.

“That was a heavy defeat. The wound is deep. The champions will not rejoice in boarding the plan to Hamburg on Friday,” he said. “We can, and we want to, annoy Bayern. We are in a grave situation, but we are far from abandoning hope.”

HSV captain Rafael van der Vaart, who could return after yet another spell on the sidelines in recent weeks, echoed Kreuzer’s comments in an interview with German tabloid Bild.

He said: “It’s a matter of life and honour. There is always a chance, when you give it your all, and we have a chance against Bayern.”

Hamburg have lost seven of their last nine competitive meetings with Bayern, drawing twice, and scored only four goals while conceding 33.

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