The German Bundesliga starts on August 5, and heinnews is providing extensive coverage in the buildup to the 2011-12 season with a club preview each day. Up today is Hamburg.

The prevailing theme of this year’s Hamburg team is out with the old and in with the new as head coach Michael Oenning has given a complete facelift to his team adding lots of internationally recognized top young talent.

Oenning, who took over in March 2011 last season from sacked coach Armin Veh, shed 14 players from last season’s squad which finished a disappointing eighth place, and brought in 13 players.

And it’s clear from the player movement that Hamburg will be an entirely different club. Gone are such established veterans as keeper Frank Rost; defenders Joris Mathijsen, David Rozehnal, Alex Silva, midfielders Ze Roberto, Piotr Trochowski and Jonathan Pitroipa; and forwards Ruud van Nistelrooy, Tunay Torun, Collin Benjamin and Maxim Choupo-Moting.

Oenning convinced his new management team to go shopping internationally and bring in top-level young talent to form the future of the once-storied club for the long haul.

And sporting director Frank Arnesen’s past connection with English powers Chelsea, where he was talent scout and sporting director until last season, worked out perfectly.

Hamburg were able to land 23-year-old English defender Michael Mancienne, 19-year-old Turkish attacking midfielder Gökhan Töre and 19-year-old Italian midfielder Jacopo Sala. And 19-year-old Dutch defender Jeffrey Bruma was also acquired on loan from Chelsea.

Hamburg also had some players return from loans as Senegalese midfielder Mickael Tavares came back from his time with English Premiership side Middlesbrough while 24-year-old Swedish striker Markus Berg returns from PSV Eindhoven. In addition, 20-year-old German-Turkish midfielder Tolgay Arslan makes his way back from Alemannia Aachen and 20-year-old defensive midfielder Sörem Bertram returns from promoted side Augsburg.

Hamburg also went out and got an established central midfielder in 24-year-old Norwegian Per Skjelbred, who comes in with Champions League experience with Rosenborg Trondheim.

Oenning may have cleared out and made Hamburg much younger but the coach still has some strong talent remaining on the squad.

Underrated Jaroslav Drobny is one of the best keepers in the league while the defense still has the likes of German internationals Dennis Aogo and Heiko Westermann. The midfield includes veteran David Jarolim as well as Marcell Jansen, Eljero Elia, Gojko Kacar and Änis Ben-Hatira. And the attack is still very strong with stalwarts Mladen Petric and Paolo Guerrero as well as 19-year-old South Korean revelation Heung-Min Son.

With so much change in the team, however, the 2011-12 season is a complete unknown for Hamburg.

“We cannot underestimate that we let a lot of big players go. And this step naturally has risks. But it’s also a big chance,” said Arnesen.

“We will try to grow as a team. I hope that we can see on the first game day that we will be competitive,” added Oenning.

 

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