Start of training at HSV Hamburg: Jogi Bitter fights for a cracker start

It starts again. Five weeks after the end of their outstanding Bundesliga season and seventh place, Hamburg’s handball players start preparing for the third season in the upper house. With two newcomers, a lot of anticipation, but also warning words. There are question marks with keeper giant Johannes Bitter. Can he be fit for the tough start to the season?

down-to-earth. That’s what HSV Hamburg is known for. Nevertheless, the team takes off today. For a week we go to the training camp in Fuerteventura. The Playitas Resort there is a partner of the HSVH. It is the team’s third training camp on the Canary Island.

HSV Hamburg is cheating in preparation: Halle blocked

What was new, however, was the location of the official start of training. At the State Handball Training Center (LLZ) in Dulsberg, coach Torsten Jansen had his men complete a power circle, running and throwing exercises, which also included plenty of fun. The main training hall in the Volkspark will be closed for weeks because the floor has to be replaced. Until further notice, HSVH has to train in Dulsberg, far to the east of Hamburg. Not optimal.

The summer additions Zoran Ilic (21) and Tomislav Severec (26) are also new. “I’ve been looking forward to this day for a long time,” says Hungarian international Ilic, who just played with his country’s youth team at the U21 World Cup in Germany and only had to bow to the hosts in the final. The left-hander played a strong tournament and was voted into the all-star team. “I want to learn here, get playing time, develop myself.”

Newcomers Zoran Ilic and Tomislav Severec motivated

The Croatian international Severec speaks of a “big step” in his career. The defensively strong right-hander is looking forward to his new team and the strongest league in the world, but criticizes the current Hamburg weather with a wink. “It’s better in Croatia.” Small consolation: In Fuerteventura too. Both newcomers say they feel well received by the team.

Backcourt star Jacob Lassen is back again, after a broken collarbone and a month-long break. The Danish national player was visibly missing from HSVH in the final stages of last season and in the fight for a place in the European Cup. Lassen is fit now and can train normally.

Johannes Bitter trains individually after surgery and rehabilitation: “Right on schedule”

Bitter is far from that far. The 2.05 m tall man, who underwent knee surgery in early May, is undergoing individual rehabilitation training. “I’ve been working hard for the last ten weeks, I’m right on schedule and happy,” he reports. “For me, the priority now is to get fit.”

Bitter speaks of “certainly the most exhausting rehab I’ve ever done”. It’s not just related to age. “I’m really impatient,” admits the 40-year-old. “As soon as there’s no progress or a step back, I’m the worst moody person in the world. I can’t wait to get back in goal.”

Handball Bundesliga: Bitter at the start in Flensburg?

But when? At the kick-off at SG Flensburg-Handewitt on August 24th? “That is my wish. But it’s still too early to be able to say anything about that,” he says reluctantly. Coach Jansen sounds more optimistic, even hoping that the goalkeeper can play one of the friendlies. “I think that Jogi will be fit again for the start of the season.” That would be extremely important.

“Brutally difficult” is what Bitter calls HSVH’s opening program in Flensburg, in Melsungen and at Champions League winners Magdeburg. Only the fourth game against Leipzig (September 16) is a home game. Bitter warns: “We should quickly get seventh place out of our heads. We have to collect points and break away early from below.”

Coach Torsten Jansen warns after seventh place

Jansen also finds warning words. “When we think that we are already someone in seventh place, it becomes difficult. Everyone should know that it is difficult to improve a season like this.” But Bitter also exudes confidence: “Basically, I believe that we will play a good role.”

With HSVH President Marc Evermann, the “anticipation for the new season is huge”. The competition takes place at all levels. “We hope that we can build on the performances of the previous season, but we also want and have to continuously improve as an entire club.” That also applies to the economy and the number of spectators, especially at home games in the Barclays Arena. “We have to improve there,” emphasizes Evermann. “This is necessary.”

President Marc Evermann sees HSV Hamburg in “stable midfield”

Overall, Evermann sees the club well established in the Bundesliga: “I think we belong in the stable midfield.” In view of the tight and competitive league, the president does not want to announce a specific place in the table as a goal for the season.

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