It’s been 57 days since your last fix, but don’t fret anymore, FC Barcelona are back. The 2012/2013 season takes its initial steps Tuesday night at the Imtech Arena Hamburg, Germany. Hamburg SV have invited Barça to Germany for the celebration of the club’s 125th anniversary. Not only is this the first game of a fresh campaign, a friendly all be it, but the beginning of the journey under the managership of Tito Vilanova.
Hamburg in recent times are not the powerhouse in Germany they once were, in fact last season was their lowest ever league position, finishing 15th. They rarely finish in the top 5, and have not won the title since 1982. But fans of the club are proud of the fact they are the only German club to never be relegated from the premier division or the Bundesliga. FC Barcelona share that feat in Spain with Real Madrid and Athletic Bilbao. With golden years in the 70s and 80s, Hamburg boast the 3rd best historic record in Germany with 6 league titles, 3 domestic cups, and 2 European titles, 1 European Cup (Champions League) and 1 Cup Winners Cup (Europa League). Last season’s historic low finish has had its cost, with the club losing several key players in Romeo Castalen, Mladen Petric, Mickael Tavares, and Paolo Guerrero. One time hot shot German keeper Rene Adler however has joined the team. Their current manager, a former player, is Thorsten Fink.
Hamburg, very much like FC Barcelona, are not only a football club but support a wide range of sports including baseball, badminton, cricket, field hockey, golf, ice hockey, handball, rugby, table tennis, and volleyball. Like all German clubs, they are owned by the members, and with 70, 920 registered members, they are the 3rd biggest German sports club.
Tuesday will be the first encounter between FC Barcelona and Hamburg since 1977, where Barca lost 6-0 in a friendly. Overall the teams have faced each other 7 times, Hamburg hold the upper hand with 4 wins to Barca’s 2.
23 players travel tomorrow morning to Germany, 10 from the first team and 13 from Barça B. There is a long list of absentees for tomorrow’s match. Puyol, Villa, Fontàs, Cuenca, and Thiago are all recovering from minor injures, all the Spanish players who won the Euro in July are still on vacation, while new boy Alba along with Tello and Montoya are in Great Britain preparing with the Olympic team.
There won’t be anything to read tomorrow’s game, whether performances, lineups, even formations, but the mere fact the first match preview of 2012/13 is up means the actual season is not too far away.
Finally, the team will be wearing black arm bands tomorrow to show support for the community of Empordà, a city in northern Catalonia, where over the weekend out of control fires burnt over 13,000 hectares of land, taking the lives of 3 people.
Messi, Mascherano, Alexis, Adriano, Alves, Afellay, Pinto, Bartra, Muniesa, Dos Santos, Oier, Sergio Gómez, Sergi Roberto, Lobato, Illie, Rafinha, Kiko, Planas, Deulofeu, Patric, Balliu, Espinosa, and Joan Àngel Roman.
The friendly commences at 18:00 Barcelona time.
Image Credit: imtech.de