Marcell Jansen was in the DFB-Pokal final as a HSV player ten years ago. Now he is the president of the club and will experience another semi-final that HSV will be participating in, this time against RB Leipzig (Tuesday, 20:45 CEST). The ex-Germany international spoke in an interview with DFB.de about the upcoming game.
DFB.de: Mr. Jansen. What does it mean to HSV to be in the semi-finals of the DFB-Pokal.
Marcell Jansen: It is a wonderful moment for us. The fans have had to deal with a difficult year and so they are thirsty for success at the moment. We recently beat St. Pauli in the derby, got through to the semi-final and now have a home game against RB Leipzig. This has all been achieved by the young team.
DFB.de: With HSV being the only 2. Bundesliga team left, they are seen as the underdog. Do you believe that you can get to the final?
Jansen: RB Leipzig are the household favourites. When you look at their stats in the Bundesliga, you can see they play modern and athletic football at a high tempo and are brutally effective. But anything can happen in the cup. We all so how Heidenheim played in Munich. As oppose to Heidenheim, we have a home game. If everything goes to plan, then we have a chance. The important thing is, is that we simply give it our all.
DFB.de: The role of the underdog can be a positive…
Jansen: Exactly. Leipzig will be under more pressure than us. They have to come at us. We can just have fun and play our game.
DFB.de: 10 years ago, you were on the pitch with HSV in the DFB-Pokal semi-final and lost to Werder Bremen in a penalty shootout. What memories do you have from this game?
Jansen: At the time, it was a completely different situation to now. Two Bundesliga teams were up against each other and we just weren’t at our best on the day. Bremen were the better team and deserved to go through.
DFB.de: You took the decisive penalty…
Jansen: Yes of course at the time it was very frustrating. However, that is sport. Some days you celebrate, some days you don’t. Of course it annoyed me a lot. But I was able to handle it well.
DFB.de: At that time, HSV and Werder Bremen met three times in four weeks: once in the semi-finals of the Pokal, twice in the semi-finals on the UEFA Cup and then in the Bundesliga. HSV lost in all three competitions. Did these results have an effect on the club as a whole?
Jansen: No. Not at all for me. I’ve never been so naïve as to let the overall development of the club break down. Of course, getting knocked out of the Europe was very tough. Unlike in the Pokal, we were clearly the better team but they were able to score too easily. It hurt a lot. However, you can’t pinpoint things to a few games. After that, it is natural to be down. There were things that still went well at HSV but we just ignored them. That was a mistake.
DFB.de: In the past, HSV have rarely promoted their own youth players. However, at the moment there are many home grown players in the first team; such as Mats Köhlert and Josha Vagnoman. Has the way players are brought in changing recently?
Jansen: We have had other players come through to have good carriers, like Jonathan Tah or Heung-Min Son. However, we find ourselves in a special situation right now. We are focusing more on our own talent now. We don’t have the financial freedom that we used to have. The best example is Khaled Narey: he was the only player we bought last summer that had a transfer fee (1.7 million Euros). This shows that we do sensible transfers. We have to be realistic in Hamburg and above all we need time to develop.
DFB.de: The reputation in Hamburg is that you aren’t the most patient…
Jansen: Well, I think that 95 percent of the fans are fully behind us and back the way we have chosen.
DFB.de: Five days after the semi-final on Sunday, there is an important game against Union Berlin, a game that could be decisive to your promotion. Is the cup game a distraction or can it inspire you?
Jansen: That is a good question. The young team have to get back to business after the cup match. The league game is crucial. Therefore, I hope that the team can be inspired from their cup game. Unfortunately, last time, we lost the league game 2-1 against Magdeburg after beating Paderborn in the cup. But now, we just have to give everything.
DFB.de: That means?
Jansen: Now is the right moment to take the next step mentally. This is above all, the task of the coaching team and the leaders in the team. Physically, there are no problems. With good controls during training, we can play an important game five days later.
DFB.de: You are the current president of HSV. The club holds 76.2% of HSV football AG, which is responsible for professional football. What influences can you make on the team?
Jansen: The president of the club is a representative on the supervisory board. This puts us in close proximity with the executive board and day-to-day operations. It’s about giving advice and accompanying and supervising the development of the club. We support the board, which does a very good job: Frank Wettstein, Bernd Hoffman and Ralf Becker. Of course I also know some of the players and I am in touch with them. However, day-to-day business is done by full-time employees. I’m close to the action but still in the background; especially since I have to deal with the honorary board of the club which runs a total of 30 sporting departments.
DFB.de: A day after your semi-final, your ex-club FC Bayern play against Werder Bremen. What do you think about this game?
Jansen: Bayern are of course the favourites. But, if Werder can put in a performance like they put in last week, then with the Bremen fans behind them, Werder have a very big chance to get into the final.