Fortuna Düsseldorf goes into the top game on Friday (September 29th, 2023, from 6:30 p.m. in the radio report and in the live ticker at the Sportschau) at Hamburger SV as the front runners. The fact that the roles are distributed this way has mainly to do with Daniel Thioune, who was chased off the court at HSV.
Daniel Thioune is one of the increasingly rare players in German professional football who, in most cases, says what he thinks. No PR talk, no glib talk to create as little friction as possible. And so the 49-year-old has never made a secret of how much his end at Hamburger SV affected him.
8th matchday Arrow right Friday, 6.30 p.m. Listen live and in the ticker – HSV against Düsseldorf Arrow right
Thioune was released after just 31 league games in the 2020/21 season. “I didn’t need to be released for my life. When it happened, it hurt me,” he said last year when he returned to Hamburg with Fortuna Düsseldorf for the first time.
“I experienced it for the first time and it was important to me to step in front of the team again, look a few people in the eyes and share my emotional world. The team noticed that I wasn’t feeling well and I “I had to swallow hard.”
Fortuna: From the fear of relegation to the promotion region
Thioune’s emotional world now looks completely different. He is the league leader with Düsseldorf, his team has been performing at the top level for weeks, he feels comfortable in the city and in the club, and is now even the figurehead of the Fortunen. Most of the time, the club’s new products are advertised with his face – because Thioune has grabbed the crowds in and around the club.
This is most obvious on the pitch. When he replaced Christian Preußer as coach in February 2022, Fortuna was in 16th place and threatened with relegation. Thioune led the team out of the mess with a series of twelve games without defeat, finished fourth in his second season – and is now at the top of the 2nd league and facing the top duel at HSV.
Where Thioune was not able to gain any positive experiences even after his departure: last season Fortuna was hopelessly overwhelmed in Hamburg and was extremely well served with the 0-2 defeat.
Thioune makes Fortuna the total package
But a lot has changed since then. His team and Thioune have now developed into a successful symbiosis. The result: With five goals conceded, Fortuna has the second best defense, but plays some exciting offensive football and dominates its opponents.
Düsseldorf has the second-most shots on goal (17 per game), makes the most crosses from play (17.6 per game), runs the most kilometers (118.7 per game) and has the third-best duel rate (52.6% won). – these numbers underline the enormous Thioune effect.
“He’s a very good coach, he’s proving that again now. He got Düsseldorf on track and is very meticulous, a good coach,” his top game opponent Tim Walter praised him. “It’s not for nothing that they are up there, they have developed further compared to last year and have a good mix between defense and offense.”
“The pressure is on in Hamburg after the last few weeks”
“At the end of the day, Hamburg have to play against us too. And I don’t know if that’s that much fun at the moment,” said Thioune. It’s probably not like that. Because the defense is standing despite the loss of captain Andre Hoffmann, who had to undergo shoulder surgery, and the offense is convincing around the two outstanding newcomers Christos Tzolis (five goals in five league games) and playmaker Isak Bergmann Johannesson.
Isak Bergmann Johannesson from Fortuna Düsseldorf in a duel with Denis Burnic from Karlsruher SC
“The last few weeks have put us in a condition where we might be taken seriously,” said Thioune. It is questionable whether this was not already the case before. After all, things have only gone up for Düsseldorf under him – so topping the table could also be a logical consequence. “The pressure is already on in Hamburg after the last few weeks. It’s just fun for us at the moment,” said goalkeeper Florian Kastenmeier, analyzing the situation.
HSV recently lost against promoted teams SV Elversberg and VfL Osnabrück, while Düsseldorf is on a run. And returnees Thioune (“emotionally it doesn’t matter to me at all, I rationally want to win a football game”) and his team want to continue that in Hamburg.