SV Hamburg and VfB Stuttgart: Back in the Day Part Two of Two

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Long serving goalkeeper Rudi Kargus and defender Peter Nogly left Hamburg during the summer.

Netzer brought in two new goalkeepers Heinz-Josef Koitka (Rot-Weiss Ludenscheid) and Uli Stein (Arminia Bielfeld) as back-up, along with midfielder Jurgen Groh (Kaiserslautern) and striker Werner Dressel (Werder Bremen). The 1980/81 was similar to the previous season as Bayern Munich triumphed in the League with Hamburg and Stuttgart just behind.Stuttgart welcomed back Jurgen Sundermann at the helm and maintained their UEFA Cup standing of the previous seasons. During the season Gunther Schafer made his debut with Stuttgart, he would remain with the club until 1996.Karl Allgower arrived from Stuttgart Kickers and future German national Team manager Joachim Low arrived from Freiburg (though he only made four appearances).In the UEFA Cup, SV Hamburg were eliminated in the third round after a humiliating (0-5) defeat at home to Saint Etienne. By midseason, Branko Zebec was relieved of his duties, as his problems with alcoholism grew more visible and problematic. His assistant and compatriot Aleksandr Ristic replaced him. For the 1981/82 season, Netzer hired Austrian Manager Ernst Happel to lead the team. Two new foreign strikers were also signed, the Yugoslav Borisa Djordjevic (Hajduk Split) and Danish Lars Bastrup (AGF Aarhus).

Djordjevic would fail to adapt, while Bastrup was more successful.Happel installed Uli Stein as his starting goalkeeper and gave a more prominent role to Thomas von Heesen.The disciplinarian Happel molded Hamburg into a stronger unit and by the end of the season Hamburg regained the Bundesliga title. Hamburg would not lose a match the entire second half of the season and Beckenbauer signed off his career with another League title. They unexpectedly lost the UEFA Cup final to the Swedes of IFK Gothenburg, but there was a feeling that this Hamburg squad was on the verge of European glory.Stuttgart welcomed two strikers, Dieter Muller from Koln and Frenchman Didier Six. Former Romanian defector Alexandru Satmareanu (also known as Szamatari) was also able to lineup after the obligatory one year suspension.Striker Peter Reichert moved up from the youth squad with much success.Dragan Holcer left and joined Schalke.

Despite these acquisitions, Hansi Muller and Karlheinz Foerster’s injuries disrupted the team’s rhythm and they finished in a poor Ninth position. Jurgen Sundermann took full responsibility and left at the end of the season.The 1982/83 season turned out to be the best in Hamburg’s history. The addition of future International midfielder Wolfgang Rolff (Fortuna Koln) strengthened an already impressive squad. Danish forward Allan Hansen arrived from Odense BK (though to not much effect).They led the League from the start and despite a late push by Werder Bremen they retained the Bundesliga title.They maintained an unbeaten streak in the League for an entire calendar year. Their last loss in the previous season had been to Eintracht Braunschweig (1-2) on January 16, 1982. They would suffer their next League defeat one year later on January 29, 1983 vs. Werder Bremen (2-3) (a run of 36 matches).They reached their zenith by defeating Juventus in the Champions Cup Final in Athens courtesy of an early Felix Magath goal. Happel’s tactics of zonal marking baffled the Italians accustomed to man-to-man marking.

In the summer of 1982, Stuttgart appointed Helmut Benthaus as manager. He arrived after managing Switzerland’s FC Basel for 17 years. He pushed out Dieter Muller, who demanded an automatic starting spot, to France’s Bordeaux. Stuttgart also transferred long serving defender Bernd Martin to Bayern Munich. As part of the exchange, they got Libero Kurt Niedermayer and Icelandic midfielder Asgeir Sigurvinsson from Bayern.Promising midfielder Thomas Kempe arrived from Duisburg.Most importantly, they lost their main star when Hansi Muller joined Internazionale Milano in the summer. A loss that many felt would be costly.However, Benthaus against expectations, placed Stuttgart back in their customary UEFA Cup zone and they finished third.Hamburg could not have foreseen that this was as high as they would reach. Lars Bastrup returned to his native Denmark. Captain Horst Hrubesch was ageing and Netzer was unwilling to offer him more than a one-year contract and expected his departure. He transferred Hrubesch to Standard Liege. He had anticipated Hrubesch’s departure for more than a year and had acquired Dieter Schatzschneider in 1982 from Hannover and had loaned him for one season to Fortuna Koln. Schatzschenider was a towering striker like Hrubesch and was seen as an ideal replacement. Similarly Wolfram Wuttke arrived from Schalke to replace Bastrup.

These two signings would signal Nezter and Hamburg’s downfall. In the annals of Bundesliga, they are often regarded as examples of a disastrous transfer policy.For the 1983/84, Hamburg suffered in the early stages with the signings unable to adapt. They were eliminated in the Second Round of the Champions Cup and were nowhere near the team of the previous two seasons.They also lost the UEFA Super Cup to Aberdeen and the Intercontinental Cup to Gremio. The two new arrivals had been such a problem, that on the day before the second leg vs. Aberdeen (December 19, 1983), the players held a meeting from which Wuttke and Schatzschneider were excluded. They declared that the two players had displayed the wrong attitude and lacked camaraderie with the rest of the squad. Magath, as captain and representative of the squad, demanded from Club President Dr. Wolfgang Klein, the exclusion of the two players.

Dr. Wolfgang Klein responded that he would rather field the two players with other Amateurs rather than allow others to dictate team policy.The following day, another team meeting was held that included the two players as well as Netzer and Happel. Magath presented a signed document that expressed regret for the previous meeting. Nezter downplayed the incident and denied the possibility of any revolt. He even said that two players were technically better than Hrubesch and Bastrup but for some reason have not gelled with the rest of the squad.From that point on the team’s form improved and they stayed in the running for the Bundesliga title.Stuttgart, despite regularly finishing near the top for many seasons, were not seen as a title winning team. Much to the surprise of most observers, this was the season that they finally reached their goal. They had lost Frenchman Didier Six in the off season, but welcomed Sweden’s Dan Corneluisson with much success.

Future International Guido Buchwald arrived from Stuttgart Kickers and his excellent season would be rewarded with international recognition.They set the pace for most of the season, as Hamburg were struggling.In an exciting season, four teams (Hamburg, Stuttgart, as well as Bayern Munich and B.M’Gladbach) were in a very tight race to win the title.In the end, the penultimate round proved decisive. Stuttgart’s win vs. Werder Bremen, coupled with Hamburg’s loss vs. Eintracht Frankfurt, gave Stuttgart a two-point lead going into the last round. Coincidentally, the two teams were scheduled to play one another at Stuttgart. By all accounts, even going into this round, the title was Stuttgart’s, as Hamburg had to win by five clear goals to overtake Stuttgart on goal difference. In the end Hamburg won (1-0) with a goal by Jurgen Milewski in the 85th minute, but Stuttgart were Bundesliga Champions.

This in a way concluded the great Hamburg and Stuttgart eras.Nezter left in 1986 and Happel a year later. Succeeding managers were unable to bring back the glory days. While a Bundesliga mainstay, they were no longer potential title winners.After that Hamburg were either an average side or at best a UEFA Cup squad (some seasons), save a couple of Champions League qualifications.Despite the 1984 League title, Stuttgart had also peaked and in the coming seasons, just like Hamburg, they were either a mid-table side or at best a UEFA Cup one.A Jurgen Klinnsman inspired Stuttgart did reach the UEFA Cup final vs. Maradona’s Napoli in 1989, but the consistency of the late 70s and early 80s was no longer there.Stuttgart did win two further Bundeliga titles, one in 1992 (inspired by Matthias Sammer and containing 1984 survivors Buchwald and Gunther Schaefer) and also in 2007.But in neither case, could anyone see a long-term reign and after each title they went through years after mid-table mediocrity.In the penultimate Round of this last season (2014/15), both teams were in relegation zone. Stuttgart saved itself with a last win, while Hamburg just barely managed to save itself via a playoff.

Part One Here
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