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Relegation-threatened Hamburg appoint fourth coach of season

15 April 2015, 20:34

Berlin - Struggling German giants Hamburg appointed Bruno Labbadia as their fourth manager of the season on Wednesday in a last-ditch bid to avoid relegation.

The 49-year-old replaces Peter Knaebel, appointed on a caretaker basis after last month's sacking of Joe Zinnbauer, who in turn replaced Mirko Slomka last September.

Knaebel was fired after only two games in charge, both resulting in defeats with no goals scored.

Saturday's 2-0 loss to Wolfsburg left Hamburg propping up the table with 25 points, four away from the safety zone with six games remaining.

But this is Labbadia's second stint at Hamburg, having been sacked in April 2010 after less than a year in charge.

"We've decided on this change because we feel the question of manager is the most important," Hamburg boss Dietmar Beiersdorf said.

"With Bruno Labbadia we've got a very good coach who is also very experienced in a relegation fight."

Also read: 'No friends in football'

"There's no time to lose," ventured Labbadia, a former top striker with various sides in Germany's top flight, after overseeing his first training session.

Ahead of the derby game away to Werder Bremen on Sunday he promised: "We'll be ready for the derby at Bremen and also concentrated on the games to come."

He called for "total commitment and passion from everyone at the club in the coming weeks" in order to "quickly get back on the path to success".

Hamburg are the only club never to have left the top flight.

"The fact is we're 18th and we're where we deserve to be, the table doesn't lie," said Labbadia, who has sent his wife on holiday to Mallorca so he can focus on his task.

"I'm not interested in the whys and what-ifs.

"My wife has a birthday today and I sent her straight off on holiday yesterday.

"I just need time now, we have to break down the barriers and I'm taking the team off in a short training camp.

"I must use the time to talk to the players. We can train a lot, but it's the head which is now important."

Hamburg only stayed up last season by a single away goal having drawn both legs of a play-off against second division Greuther Fuerth.

The crisis-ridden club have taken only one point and failed to score in their last five matches and have turned to the man they fired five years ago after a 5-1 drubbing at Hoffenheim meant they missed out on a place in Europe.

Former Germany international Labbadia was then hired by fellow Bundesliga side Stuttgart, managing to save them from relegation in 2010-2011.

He guided Stuttgart to Europa League qualification in the next two seasons, before being dismissed after losing the opening three games in the 2013-2014 season.



WRAP: English Premiership

23 October 2016, 11:05

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