At the beginning of September, Martin Harnik fulfilled his lifelong dream with his move to Hamburger SV. That the 32-year-old still kicks in Europe, however, is only due to a memorable visit to China in the summer of 2016.
Review: Three years ago, the working paper of the Austrian ran out at VfB Stuttgart. With the Swabians Harnik had just descended from the Bundesliga, as he was met with a lure call from the Far East: Felix Magath, then coach of Shandong Luneng, wanted to bring the attacker necessarily to China.
Since Harnik did not want to reject the (financially very attractive) offer from the outset, he traveled to the Middle Kingdom to get a first-hand impression of himself. He now described his impressions of the HSV blog "Rautenperle."
"I flew there, looked at the facts and followed the call of money," admitted the veteran. According to Shandong, he could have earned "the highest Bundesliga level."
After his arrival in China, however, Harnik soon realized that the clocks were ticking differently there. "When we landed, it was already very foggy with a lot of smog, then it went in. That was far from international," the striker recalled. During a walk near his hotel, he was looked upon by the locals as "an alien."
Harnik had "homesickness like a little boy" in China
No ideal conditions for a transfer but it got worse. "The next day was to do the medical check-up, I slept half an hour at night, I was feeling so bad, I was homesick like a little boy on a school trip, I had a stomach ache, I could not eat anything, stupidly, I'm right "The end of the song: Although Shandong Luneng presented him a signature-ready offer, Harnik said and instead switched to Hannover 96. After two years in Lower Saxony, the former international ran a season for his training club Werder Bremen, before he moved on loan in his native city of Hamburg.
With the HSV Harnik is currently leading the table of the 2nd Bundesliga.