Munich – This Sunday, the relegation crime between the KSC and the HSV will be reissued. At SPORT1 Markus Kauczinski and Rafael van, der Vaart remember.
It was a pure thrill. And not to be outdone in drama.
While on the one hand the players and the coach of hamburger SV, Bruno Labbadia, cheered and danced on the lawn as young children cheered, on the other side of the pitch the professionals and managers of Karlsruher SC cursed.
It was an exciting evening on this June 1, 2015, at the Wildparkstadion. The Hanseatic League separated the first relegation of the club only two minutes from the first relegation match in the relegation rematch (replay: 1:1).
But referee Manuel Gräfe sanctioned an alleged hand play by KSC player Jonas Meffert and the HSV was awarded a controversial free-kick – Slobodan Rajkovic had shot Meffert to the arm from a short distance. Marcelo Diaz chipped the ball into the net in the 91st minute to make it 1-1 over the KSC wall. In the 115th minute, Nicolai Müller finally scored to make it 2-1. The salvation for the hamburgers.
The former KSC coach Markus Kauczinski, currently without a job, looks back at SPORT1: “It was a nice time with a strong team. The relegation was the culmination of a development. In the end, we were denied the big leap,” says the 49-year-old. “I’m still often approached about this game today. This shows that it was something special.”
“Never experienced such a tension”
Rafael van der Vaart, who played 199 games for HSV and has since finished his career, also likes to think back to that time.
“It was unbelievable. It was a game you could only lose. We had to stay in the league and then we did it. I’ve never experienced such tension,” says the 36-year-old SPORT1. For the then captain it was “one of the best games with the HSV, a real thriller”. After the game there was beer and wine, the class preservation was celebrated like a championship. It was a highlight of my career.”
For the then HSV goalkeeper Rene Adler (2012 to 2017) it was “the most brutal emotion”, he says at SPORT1. “It was always all about avoiding failure. If you had almost been relegated six weeks before and then you still managed to do it, then the whole way was already hard. We have grown together completely, Bruno played a big part in that.”
Adler remembers: “When we were just behind, I thought we couldn’t do it anymore. Suddenly the free-kick gate came and pulled you out.”
Adler: “Super-GAU averted”
The 34-year-old can’t remember that in his career he had “so much emotion” in him because for him it was “a changing bath of feelings”. Adler still likes to think about the party with the fans. On holiday, he felt like he had “won something that was actually nonsense because we had only turned away the super-GAU.”
Today (2nd Bundesliga: Karlsruher SC – Hamburger SV, 1.30 pm in the LIVETICKER) there is a new edition of the duel. This time in the 2nd league. And it’s a real top game on the 4th game day. The KSC as seventh in the table receives the third place in the table from Hamburg.
Oliver Kreuzer, Head of KSC Sports since 2015 and in the same position from June 2013 to July 2014 at HSV, admits at SPORT1: “I think it is a different game for many fans as well as for me. It is the first meeting between the two clubs and for me since this much-discussed game in the relegation or my resignation in 2014. Nevertheless, in the end, two teams face each other who want to score three points for their goals.”
Cruiser dampens euphoria
Kreuzer dampens the euphoria that has just arisen at the ascent, knowing full well that it can quickly go in the other direction again. “We know where we come from. If you use all the club parameters, you will soon be able to make a big difference everywhere. We are fourth because we started well in the league.”
KSC coach Alois Schwartz has built something together with Kreuzer. “He excels in football expertise. He always surprises the players, including me, with special measures,” Kreuzer praises. For the situation in the 3rd league at the time, Schwartz was “the ideal coach”. At first, the football teacher was skeptical.
“A lot of people didn’t trust him to climb because he doesn’t stand for spectacular football. But he taught these people something better,” Kreuzer emphasizes. “He tries to make a good team out of many good individual players. The team spirit is above everything with him – here all players have to subordinate themselves.”
Kauczinski, too, finds only positive words for his ex-club. “I can only praise those responsible. The squad was well strengthened, but the core of the team was preserved. With the compactness and robustness of the players, you have good equipment to pass in the 2nd league.”
No thoughts of marching through
Despite the current positive situation, he does not want to think about a march. “The primary goal must be to keep the league. The breadth of the squad will not be enough for dreaming. But I’m not worried that Oliver Kreuzer and Alois Schwartz misjudge this and that expectations are too high.”
Small steps are “enough at this level. Enough clubs have already failed at high standards”.
The new magic word in Karlsruhe has been continuity since the relegation in 2017. “This is not a guarantee of success,” Kreuzer believes. “But it does increase the chances of success in the long run.”
Like Kaczynski, he is careful when it comes to double ascent: “Paderborn has done this outstandingly, but football writes such stories every 20 years. A lot is happening at the KSC at the moment, we want to remain a DFL member in the coming years. If that’s ‘only’ the 2nd league, that’s absolutely fine.”