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scouting

Lukas Hinterseer: What can Ulsan Hyundai expect from their new striker?

After a brief period of speculation, Ulsan Hyundai have signed the man to lead their new-look attack for the 2021 K League 1 season.

That player is 29-year-old striker Lukas Hinterseer, who joins from 2. Bundesliga side Hamburg SV for a fee of 300,000 Euros. The Austrian international will go straight into Ulsan's Club World Cup training camp ahead of the game against Tigres UANL of Mexico on February 4th.

We called upon German football expert and host of the 2. Bundesliga Podcast Matthew Karagich to let us know what we can expect from Ulsan's latest foreign import. 

Hinterseer has spent much of his career in and around the German second tier, winning promotion with FC Ingolstadt before moving to VfL Bochum and Hamburg SV. How was he viewed amongst fans of the 2. Bundesliga?

Hinterseer is viewed as a solid 2. Bundesliga striker, someone who can pop up now and again with a goal or two. A poacher by trade, Hinterseer is dangerous in situations in the box. He does tend to drift in and out of games which is quite problematic if he is the main source of your goals. We saw this during his season and a half in Hamburg and even with Bochum to an extent.

He’ll have some pretty big goal-scoring boots to fill at Ulsan. Do you see him as a player capable of breaking 20 goals a season?

He has never broken the 20-goal mark in his career so far with his best season being the 18 goals he scored for Bochum in the 2018/19 season. He has managed double figures in goals only three times, so history suggests it might not happen at Ulsan. That said, reuniting with Lee Chung-yong, who he spent time with at Bochum, will be beneficial in his transition to Ulsan and the K League. Whether he can replace the goals of Júnior Negrāo, only time will tell.

FNR

What was his most memorable moment in German football for you?

Two moments come to mind. First, his goal vs Mainz to give Ingolstadt their first win in Bundesliga. It was significant for a number of reasons and it was the moment that Hinterseer and Ingolstadt arrived onto the Bundesliga scene. 

Also, his hat-trick for Bochum against Greuther Fürth in a 3-2 victory a couple of years ago. Bochum came from behind twice before Hinterseer scored a stoppage time winner to complete his hat-trick and the comeback. 

Hinterseer seemed to have fallen out of favour at Hamburg. What were the reasons for this, and were you surprised by his decision to move to the K League?

When Hinterseer joined Hamburg under then manager Dieter Hecking, the expectation was the Austrian would be a key figurehead leading the line for Hamburg. However, a nine-goal season and a changing of the guard in Hamburg only provided uncertainty. New manager Daniel Thioune brought 2. Bundesliga’s all-time leading scorer Simon Terodde, limiting Hinterseer to a substitute’s role and eventually an unused sub.

All players want to be on the pitch but there are only 11 spots, when you haven’t featured since matchday 10 it’s understandable to look at all your options. While there are teams in the 2. Bundesliga who could use Lukas Hinterseer, I don’t think the move to the K League is that surprising as moves to Korea and Japan are becoming far more attractive options for players seeking regular playing time. 

He is already being compared to another former 2. Bundesliga striker, Stanislav Iljutcenko, who has been quite successful since moving to Korea from Duisburg. How do the two players compare?

Statistically speaking Hinterseer had the better career in Germany compared to Iljutcenko with the Austrian reaching the topflight with Ingolstadt. The difference in careers is Iljutcenko played in a poor Duisburg side before leaving for Pohang Steelers, whereas Hinterseer has had numerous tilts at promotion. In Iljutcenko’s time in the 2. Bundesliga, he managed 14 goals in 86 appearances compared to the 50 goals in 127 appearances for Hinterseer. Both are opportunistic strikers but for me, Hinterseer is more clinical in front of goal and his record backs that up.

Thanks again to Matthew for his insights. You can catch all the latest analysis from Matthew and co-host Eva-Lotta on the 2. Bundesliga Podcast.

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