Football

Hamburg appoints Mirko Slomka as coach

HAMBURG, Germany (AP) — Hamburger SV has appointed Mirko Slomka as coach to replace the fired Bert van Marwijk with the task of steering the side away from Bundesliga relegation.

Slomka, who was sacked by league rival Hannover in December, received a contract until mid-2016, Hamburg said. "Now we need a good start," Slomka said at his presentation on Monday. Hamburg hosts third-place Borussia Dortmund for his first match in charge.

"Hamburg should be among the top five clubs in Germany," Slomka said. Van Marwijk was fired after Saturday's 4-2 defeat at Bundesliga bottom side Eintracht Braunschweig, now just one point behind Hamburg with 13 games remaining.

It was Hamburg's seventh consecutive league loss, and its eighth overall including Wednesday's 5-0 defeat to Bayern Munich in the German Cup. Slomka, 46, saved Hannover from relegation after taking over in January 2010 and twice led the side into the Europa League. He had been out of work since Dec. 27, when he was sacked following Hannover's disappointing first half to the season. The side went into the winter break in 13th place, four points clear of the relegation zone.

He is the third coach Hamburg has had this season. Thorsten Fink was also fired following the club's lackluster start to the campaign. Hamburg, the only side to have played every season of the Bundesliga since its formation in 1963, said Van Marwijk's dismissal was in response to "the seventh loss in a row and to slipping to 17th in the table."

Manager Oliver Kreuzer and chief executive Carl-Edgar Jarchow had backed the 61-year-old Van Marwijk to keep his job during a week of turmoil at the club, despite pressure from within to appoint former coach and player Felix Magath in his place. Instead, Magath was appointed coach of Premier League bottom side Fulham on Friday.

As a player, Magath led Hamburg to its Champions Cup title in 1983. Since its German Cup win in 1987, Hamburg has not won a title. Van Marwijk, a former Netherlands coach, lasted only 143 days. Hamburg has the worst defense in the Bundesliga with 51 goals conceded in 21 games. The side has conceded at least three goals in its last seven games in all competitions.

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