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“HSV will be in the top three again”

As a professional, Martin Harnik played for Werder Bremen, Fortuna Düsseldorf, VfB Stuttgart, Hamburger SV and Hannover 96 - and he did it very successfully, scoring 66 goals in the Bundesliga alone.

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“HSV will be in the top three again”

As a professional, Martin Harnik played for Werder Bremen, Fortuna Düsseldorf, VfB Stuttgart, Hamburger SV and Hannover 96 - and he did it very successfully, scoring 66 goals in the Bundesliga alone. The 35-year-old still shows his qualities as a striker in the Oberliga Hamburg at TuS Dassendorf, but professionally he already has a second mainstay as the operator of an indoor golf course at Glinde. The father of three looks at the situation in the second division for WELT and tells what he is planning for the future.

WORLD: Mr. Harnik, as a former Bundesliga professional, you scored your last goal last weekend in the Oberliga Nord for your current club TuS Dassendorf, and you already have 35 goals this season. Do you still see the old Harnik jubler where you bang your fist towards the ground?

Martin Harnik: (laughs) No, I left him in the Bundesliga. It's also not as highly emotional as it is in professional football. Depending on the importance, the jubilation is sometimes more intense or sometimes less intense.

WORLD: So there is a bit of pressure outside?

Harnik: A little bit more, I would say.

WORLD: Is the joy of scoring as a professional much greater?

Harnik: The joy is always the same. As a striker, you are driven by your thirst for goals. But the scope is much smaller. Points or goals have a completely different importance in professional football than in amateur football.

WORLD: What do you not miss about professional football?

Harnik: The least I miss is the pressure and the tension. Also the criticism around a footballer, after the game, before the game, in the training week. It's very transparent, you're constantly being watched, you're rarely alone.

WORLD: And what do you miss?

Harnik: It's the positive emotions when I see Bundesliga goals on TV that remind me of everything. Even when I'm in and around the stadium, it's exhilarating. But missing is the wrong word. I like to remember it.

WORLD: Your last professional station was Hamburger SV. How do you rate the current situation with the current runners-up in the second division?

Harnik: HSV has stabilized under coach Tim Walter for almost two years. You've managed to get more calm into the club, even if that may never quite work out at HSV. The coach sets the right priorities. They are accordingly successful. The reward for the hard work is that they have the necessary luck in the tight games.

WORLD: Is it enough for the ascent this time?

Harnik: They will be among the top three again. 1. FC Heidenheim is still dangerous. Darmstadt 98 recently played a huge game against HSV. It will still be a lot of work to make the top two. I would be very happy for the whole club and the city if they make it.

WORLD: What is different from previous years in the second division? Four times it didn't work out with the ascent.

Harnik: The relegated teams from the Bundesliga don't play as big a role as last year with Werder Bremen and Schalke 04. HSV is definitely one of the top three in the league in terms of squad.

WORLD: How do you rate Coach Walter's very offensive game idea?

Harnik: That too has evolved. On the first match days of last season I still thought: That can't be true, how open and wild the team is. Every game system also has its weaknesses. It would be interesting to see to what extent this game idea also works in the first division. They won't be able to radiate dominance like in the second division.

WORLD: What has to happen in order to be able to survive in the first division?

Harnik: The quality of converting chances is much higher in the premier league. HSV still allows many chances. In the second division, it is not punished like that. Here, too, Tim Walter has to further develop his system. Just buying players is not enough, especially since HSV has to save. It makes more sense to pay attention to the character of the team than to the quality in the first step.

WORLD: Again to the chronic unrest around the club. Can the team keep that up in the long run?

Harnik: It's not important for the team what happens there. She trains, stands on the pitch. It doesn't bother her much. But it puts a strain on the officials around the club. It puts a strain on the sports director, the sports director, even the coach, who spend a lot of energy answering questions on certain topics. That's all energy that should flow into the team.

WORLD: About your own football career: Werder Bremen, Fortuna Düsseldorf, VfB Stuttgart, Hannover 96, HSV. Which station was the most formative?

Harnik: Each station was totally instructive in its own way and has contributed to my overall career. The most formative was certainly the one in Stuttgart, also because it was the longest at six years. It was the maturing process to become a real Bundesliga professional. The time in Hanover was the most successful with promotion and relegation, I contributed to that with my goals. I had another very emotional time in Hamburg. It's my hometown, was an inner wish to be able to play there again. I made my professional debut at Werder and realized in Düsseldorf that I can survive in professional football

WORLD: You stopped being fit in 2020 at the age of 32, why?

Harnik: Basically, Werder Bremen, where I still had a year's contract, made the decision for me by letting me go because they were no longer planning with me in terms of sport. There was nothing else on the market that I really wanted, HSV – to whom I was loaned – would have been an alternative. But they planned differently.

WORLD: Last year you started with an indoor golf course in Glinde. How's it going?

Harnik: Pretty good. It's incredibly fun. I'm the first in northern Germany to open a hall of this kind. In autumn and winter things are going very well. There are various events and team events. Golfers can work on their skills all year round.

WORLD: You also have a horse farm, a party supplies store and a meat shop in Stuttgart. Were you born entrepreneurial?

Harnik: There were more opportunities that I grew into. I think I can get people excited about things and win them over quite well. I learned that from my football coaches and the dynamics in the dressing room.

WORLD: But don't you want to become a coach or sports director?

Harnik: It would be appealing, but at the moment it would mean too much of a sacrifice for the family. I'm glad that I'm self-determined professionally right now.

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