HAMBURG, GERMANY - APRIL 14: Heung Min Son of Hamburg celebrates after winning the Bundesliga match between Hamburger SV and Hannover 96 at Imtech Arena on April 14, 2012 in Hamburg, Germany. (Photo by Joern Pollex/Bongarts/Getty Images)
Thorsten Fink found a way to save Hamburg last year when it seemed that all hope was lost. How high can he take them this season?
Team: Hamburger SV
Manager: Thorsten Fink
Key Additions: Rene Adler, Maximilian Beister (loan returnee),
Key Losses: Mladen Petric, Jose Guerrero, Gökhan Töre
2011-2012 Finish: Bundesliga 15th
2012-2013 Prediction: Last season did not start off well for Hamburg at all. With Michael Oenning running the show, Hamburg struggled to get anything going in a positive direction. With 1 point out of their first 18, Frank Arnesen had no choice but to send Oenning packing. Arnesen moved to sign FC Basel's Thorsten Fink who was in the process of pulling a huge European upset by having his side advance to the Champions League knockout rounds ahead of Manchester United. Fink turned things around and managed to move Hamburg above the relegation zone. The finished the year in 15th place and five points safe from relegation.
Rene Adler has left Bayer Leverkusen for Hamburg. The former Germany number one lost his starting position for Leverkusen last season due to injury and was unable to gain it back. He will take the number one spot from Jaroslav Drobny, but the Czech should continue to push him for that spot. Maximilian Beister has returned from his two year long loan at Fortuna Düsseldorf and will add something different to the attacking midfield. Another transfer to watch is Artjoms Rudnevs joining from Lech Poznan. The Latvian striker could be a pleasant surprise. On the way out of Hamburg is Paolo Guerrero (Corinthians), Mladen Petric (Fulham), and Gökhan Töre (Rubin Kazan). Of the three, Töre will be missed the most as the young Turkish international was really coming into his own last year.
With a struggling offense in 2011-12, the player to keep an eye on is 21 year old Maximilian Beister. The midfielder spent the last two seasons on loan with Fortuna Düsseldorf in the 2.Bundesliga where he scored 18 goals in 59 appearances. Beister was instrumental in the club's promotion this year and should find significant playing time as the year moves along. Beister will fit right in the youth movement that Frank Arnesen and Thorsten Fink have attempted to put into place.
Hamburg should find themselves far away from the relegation zone by the end of the 2012-13 season. They're hoping to catch on the "youth revolution" that has helped Borussia Dortmund and Borussia Mönchengladbach in recent years. With Beister, Lam Zhi Gin, Son Heung-Min, Marcus Berg, and Ivo Ilicevic in the attack, Hamburg have a young and talented side with which to move forward. Hamburg don't quite have the depth to challenge for a European place this season. It's going to take another year for them to see Europe as a realistic option. Hamburg will finish somewhere between 8th and 12th this season.