The HamburgHammer Column

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Another great point against very strong opposition!

This was another strange matchday experience for me. The Cordi away game was taking place at the same time as our game against City, more of that further down below.
I had promised to write a match report for that one, so I was obliged to go and watch really. I started driving back from Dassendorf (apple and potato peasant country on the southeastern fringes of Hamburg) when our game had just finished.

My phone was switched off to be on the safe side, even though I had instructed my mates not to tell me anything about the West Ham game, in case they had heard scorelines beforehand. I rushed up the stairs to my flat with my index fingers placed firmly inside my earholes to watch the recording of our performance.

Despite the Cordi result I was in a good mood because it had so far been a beautiful day, stunning in fact, cold as October days can be, but sunny. And driving back home to the city along those lovely country roads, the foliage of the forest trees on the side of the road was showing off in all alluring colours and tones under the sun, green, red, brown, yellow and everything in between. Think Indian Summer in New Hampshire or the Scottish Highlands and you’re getting the idea.

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In times of once again lurking lockdowns and Covid I sometimes need these little offerings of joy and beauty to feast my eyes and senses upon – the ones we tend to take for granted, allowing them to pass us by unnoticed – and that achingly beautiful autumnal drive through the countryside was just what the doctor ordered. Magnificent!

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When I sat down in my comfy chair with my mug of Rosie, watching our game, I had an inkling that Man City would have most of the possession.
I knew we’d have to give a top all-round team performance to get a result.
In recent times, we have conceded 4 or 5 goals on average against City. Not this time though.

Great effort and desire from the boys all around. Tactics spot on. Disciplined at the back. Not to mention our irresistible counter attacking football which caused City the odd headache.

None bigger than our opening gambit. The bicycle kick by Antonio after great play by Sous Chef and a pinpoint cross from Czech Mate was a sight to behold!

It’ll give Lanzini’s effort a run for its money for Goal of the Month.

Fantastic play from scorer and provider. As far as the excitement factor goes, Carroll’s overhead kick against Palace was more emotional as there was a full stadium to appreciate and applaud the goal when that one hit the back of the net.

Antonio’s effort though was much better in terms of sheer technique as the defender was all over him and Antonio had to get his balance, positioning and execution spot on in order to pull it off. Which, thankfully, he did with aplomb!

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Just WOW!!! Now we had something to defend or rather protect.
Because City were getting better, seeing more of the ball, putting West Ham under the cosh for a while, yet we still were creating opportunities of our own.

We had managed to mark Aguero out of the game in the first half, but even taking into account Manchester’s injury list, it is ridiculously impressive to see whom City can still bring on when they take off the likes of Aguero, Silva or Walker.

One of the new arrivals, Foden, put City level. An equaliser was always likely to happen because they are spoilt rotten with quality footballers from top to bottom, the lucky barstewards! One might argue that their bottom half of the squad could still win trophies competing in most European leagues as things stand.

All it takes for them in order to score a goal from nowhere is just one quick pass, one mesmerising touch, one moment of brilliance. And Foden’s effort was just that. A top class finish. But I wasn’t overly concerned. Or worried. West Ham were playing well. As well as we haven’t seen them perform in many years.

Yes, the pundits were waxing lyrical about the Mancunians putting the squeeze on West Ham. Especially when Antonio had to come off, with what appeared to be a hamstring issue or just cramp. We saw the introduction of Yarmolenko and Haller. Who weren’t overly efficient, but put in a shift nonetheless.

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We still were dangerous on the break and with a bit of luck might even have nicked this one. I’ll say this again: We could have beaten Manchester City!

That’s against the team that had put 22 goals past us on their previous 5 visits to the London Stadium. To put that into context for you: Manchester City needed all of their their last 20 away games at Upton Park to get to the 22 goal mark.

It goes to show how far City have come as a team over the last 15 years and how much we have struggled in terms of results at the new gaff so far.

A point against City was not to be expected. And is something to be proud of and respected.

We continue our impressive points haul throughout this incredibly testing early list of fixtures. Oh, I didn’t actually get to watch the final 7 minutes as somehow my stream had downed tools at that stage. So I had to check out the final result old school style, on teletext. Rarely have I been this nervous pushing the numbers 530 on my remote control to check the PL scores…

Another point in the bag, we are sitting very comfortably in midtable still, above both Manchester clubs, bless them, with another big game approaching fast next Saturday, away at Anfield. Liverpool without VVD are not their usual confident/arrogant self. I reckon we can give them an almighty scare and cause them a few problems as well.

Things are looking good for Moyes and the players at the moment and the mood around the training sessions must be positively buzzing at this point. Long may it continue! COYI!!!

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Hamburg football update: Good weekend for the big Hamburg clubs. Hamburg SV came back from 0:1 down against bottom club Würzburger Kickers to win 3:1. That’s 15 points from a possible 15, folks! A perfect start to the season. Top spot in the league table and already an impressive five-point cushion between themselves and Kiel in 2nd place.

St.Pauli did a bit of a West Ham, coming back from a two-goal deficit in the final ten minutes to draw 2:2 away to Darmstadt, equalising with a last-gasp penalty. They’re sitting comfortably in a heavily crowded middle section of the league table.

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Concordia lost 0:4 away to Dassendorf which sounds like a brutal and humiliating surrender. It really wasn’t. Several television crews were present as Martin Harnik was making his Dassendorf debut as a starter. Until recently the 33-year-old striker had been playing for Werder Bremen in the Bundesliga. On Saturday he was no longer playing against Dortmund or Mönchengladbach in front of a 50k capacity crowd but against lowly Concordia with a mere 300 souls watching from the sidelines (that was the maximum capacity allowed due to Covid) – how the mighty fall…;-))

It was goalless at halftime. Cordi had plenty of opportunities, but wasn’t effective enough with the final ball. Once Dassendorf had scored their first (through Harnik of course, putting the ball over the line with a backheeler, like the experienced old trooper he is) there was only ever going to be one winner. Both teams were still playing attacking, football but only the home side were putting their chances away. It wasn’t a 4:0 performance at all. I am not happy of course when my team loses by four goals, but this one was just down to a very unlucky second half. It could have been a 2:2 really. or a 4:4. Games like these happen. Better luck next time, Cordi are in 4th place now.

Sunday football was being played out in relentless rain: Cats, dogs, hares and badgers, not nice. The Cordi U23s won anyway, away to Stapelfeld, 5:0, easy one that. After that I had a bit of driving to do from that stadium to Cordi’s home ground in order to just catch the start of the second half of the Cordi Women’s team’s home game against Tornesch and, BOOM, another win, 3:2! The girls are sitting midtable now after winning their last two games in a row. Looks like they might be able to avoid a relegation struggle after all…

BREAKING NEWS: Due to the current spikes in new cases of Covid in and around Hamburg the local FA has just announced that ALL lower league football will be suspended until further notice.
Which means no more Concordia games for the time being…:-(