Four minutes in. Klaus Gjasula fouls Erich Berko. Gets a talking to. Two minutes later, he goes in on Matthias Bader. Referee Robert Kampka responds by showing him a card of his favourite colour – yellow.
We probably should have seen it the moment Daniel Thioune decided to hand him a first start of 2021. It might have only been the Albanian’s third yellow card of the season (for his club, at least, he saw two for Albania in the international break) but there can surely be nothing more inevitable than Gjasula landing in the referee’s notebook.
Or is there?
After all he plays for Hamburger SV, where no matter the players, the coach, the board, the state of the world, when this time of the season comes around again, all logic seems to go out of the window.
The best striker in the league’s history, Simon Terodde, who has spent most of the season striking at more than a goal a game, suddenly goes on a goal drought. A stable, firm defence suddenly turns to jelly. Some of the best players at this level turn into ‘jokers’ – and not in the German sense of the word.
Sure things become anything but. You can be 3-0 up against a midtable team like Hannover, cruising to victory, and still end up drawing 3-3. Or face a side in the lower half in the table, at home, and still lose. Darmstadt aren’t exactly known for holding their nerve either.
For sure, there is one thing more inevitable than a Gjasula yellow, perhaps even more inevitable than death and taxes, or Bayern winning the Bundesliga – Hamburg bottling the 2. Bundesliga promotion race.
There’s nothing else to say really. Maybe they just love the league as much as we do, and as much as Gjasula loves – or seems to love – yellow cards.