THE SLAYER OF DUVENSTEDT
An afternoon to never forget for Lukas Henkel
A typical autumnal Sunday in Hamburg, cold and misty, awaited in the Puckaffer Weg 15. It was November 25th of 2018 when Duvenstedter SV, who had beaten relentlessly almost every team in the league, was hosting the Hamburg Hurricanes on the top clash of the week. The predestined candidate to get promoted into Bezirklsliga, had played the Hurricanes previously in two occasions; destroying the men in pink in both of them: 6:2 in the first round of the Cup back in July 2018 and a month later, 2:5 in the third match week, while visiting Paddy's Park.
Hurricanes star Oscar Walet texted the lads early in the morning to explain that he was stuck in Düsseldorf after visiting some friends, hence being impossible to drive back to Hamburg for the game. Despite those facts, team manager Guillaume Hounsome was confident that the squad he had was qualified enough to bring a good fight against the hosts on this day. The Hurricanes had built a good momentum, being unbeaten in the previous six matches (5W-1D).
Minutes before entering to the dressing room, Guillaume approaches separately two players, the first being Oscar Peña to tell him, given the circumstances with Oscar Walet, he needed to change the system and was going to play him as a winger instead of striker. The second player was Lukas Henkel, precisely to tell him he was going up front.
Guillaume starting XI was: James Schramm in goal, Nico Guimont and Sam Mchattie at the back with Jack Callaghan and Páidí Scully as full-backs, Mark Boyce, Sholto West and Thomas Ostendorf sharing the midfield, Juan Arteche and Oscar Fernández Peña as wingers, with Lukas Henkel as striker (4-2-3-1).
On the bench were Benedikt Cœkøll (DF), Jesper Jensen (MF), and Felipe (FW).
The best offense versus best defense of the league were about to face each other. The ref called both squads to get aligned before blowing his whistle and the contest started pretty even.
After 25 minutes, Duvenstedt’s game plan, consisting of sending effectively long balls to their forwards and find quickly the net, wasn't working. Those long balls sent over their wingers were intercepted either by Jack or Paídí, or cleared by Nico Guimont and Sam McHattie, our center backs. Apart from a great chance where the ball hit the post on James Schramm’s goal, the Hurricanes were dominant and created good chances. It took though one extra attempt from the local team to send that long ball and find their top scorer, Niklas Rochow, who finished in a natural way to open up the scoreboard in the 28th minute. Duvenstedt’s bench and the couple of fans who braved up to watch their team on a cold afternoon, exploded and celebrated the goal. Duvenstedt, for the third consecutive game, cracked the pink’s defence and thought this goal would give that assurance for more to come, after all they were the best offence in the league. Surprisingly, the Hurricanes kept playing as if nothing happened. In the 32nd minute a low ball gets sent towards the local’s half side of the pitch with no real danger, Duvenstedt’s defender goes quite casual for it, not realising that Lukas Henkel was just behind him. Right outside of the box, Lukas took him out on a shoulder to shoulder to send him to the ground, picked up the ball and with a killer instinct struck it low, there where it hurts a keeper the most, GOAAAL! Lukas' equaliser came in the right time and helped to maintain that good momentum.
Eight minutes later, the Hurricanes gained a left throw-in on the last third of the pitch. Paídí took the ball and sent it high to Oscar Peña, who jumped and barely headed it to find Juan, who headed it further towards the small box. Right before the ball bounced, it had found another player in pink and who was it? LUKAS HENKEL!!! Lukas got away from his defender and with the tip of his right toe got his second of the day; putting it up on the right side of the keeper and turning the score around for the Hurricanes 1:2 just before half-time.
During the 15-minute break, Guillaume Hounsoume gave further instructions to his players, above all he knew the game wasn't over and Duvenstedt would go all-in for the win. Sitting back and parking the bus had never been part of the Hurricanes style of play, not even with today’s opponent who had scored at least 2x more goals than his team throughout the season. One goal for them and managing the game would've been complicated, but on the contrary, one goal more for the 'Canes and it could sentence it. The high intensity pressing should no longer continue, but the team had to be clever with the space and compact when needed. Simply said, the ball had to keep going through pink feet.
Both squads got out of their changing rooms and returned to the pitch, second half started and it didn't take more than 8 minutes for Sholto to send a ball over Duvenstedt’s defence, both center backs stopped and raised their hand to then turn to the sideline and look at the assistant referee. The flag didn't go up and there was a Hurricane one on one against the keeper. Lukas, ruthless, without thinking for more than one second, from the edge of the box with a powerful shot sent the ball into the back of the net! A beautiful GOLAZO to complete his HAT-TRICK. Lukas “The Slayer of Duvenstedt” Henkel sprinted to the corner to celebrate his beauty and his teammates followed him full of joy. Bernd, our loyal supporter who was standing behind the bench, lightened up a cigarette and smiled. Even him, with his more than 65 years of age was enjoying watching this freezing Kreisliga football match.
It was 1:3 for the ‘Canes and Duvenstedt was completely speechless, confused and even lost. They tried to create from their midfield, they kept sending those long balls, but in the end harmless. A tireless Sam and a solid Nico, without getting in trouble, cleared out every single time. Moreover, midfielders Mark and Thomas were able to block and tackle when needed and once the ball went through Sholto's feet there was a sense of calm when distributing it.
The substitutes played their part as well. In the 65th minute, Benedikt Coekoll replaced an injured Jackie, who put a strong performance on the right and minutes later, Felipe made his way in for Oscar Peña. He and Juan, with their fine technical skills, where literally dancing on both wings. Likewise, Hurricane legend Jesper Jensen was warming up, there was an entirely exhausted and out of breath Lukas Henkel to get subbed. In the 79th minute he left the pitch with strong claps from his team mates and the bench. The Slayer of Duvenstedt, nicknamed after this feat, had basically won the game for us. A minute later, from the left wing Felipe dribbled and with a deadly cross, the ball found Juan, who on open goal only had to push it to seal the deal 1:4. Moments before the final whistle, Niklas Rochow got a second one as consolation for the locals.
Both squads greeted each other after the match ended, Tillman Rochow, Duvenstedt’s coach congratulated every Hurricane player he jumped into, “you definitely were the better team today”, he kept saying. The men in pink went straight to the changing room, there was a song to be sang and a beer to be drank while showering, jumping and shouting half naked to celebrate such an impeccable victory.
No other player in at least the previous two seasons, including the 2018/19, had scored a Hat-Trick against Duvenstedter SV. They were proclaimed champions of the Kreisliga 5 and lost only three matches, one of them being in this narrated afternoon. This is why this game was a very special one and is up there as one of the most exciting games in the Hurricanes history.