Germany news

Hamburg reeling after woeful week

August 22, 2013
By Stephan Uersfeld, Germany Correspondent

A traumatic and embarrassing week for Hamburg, on the eve of their 50th anniversary as a Bundesliga club, has left German tabloid Bild asking whether only former coach Felix Magath can rescue the situation.

Felix Magath
GettyImagesFelix Magath has been linked with a return.

After the club took a point from a 3-3 thriller at Schalke on the opening day, things unravelled as TSG Hoffenheim beat them 5-1 at home a week later.

After that spectacular defeat, coach Thorsten Fink granted his players two extra days off -- but, at the weekend, Bild published pictures that showed Germany international Dennis Aogo and midfielder Tomas Rincon boarding a flight to Mallorca. “We gave the players two days off to think things over,” the paper quoted Fink as saying. “Not to fly to Mallorca.”

On the Tuesday, when training resumed, board member Hans-Ulrich Kluver became involved in a training ground brawl with a steward who did not recognise him. Kluver later apologised in a press statement that said: “I did not punch him, but freed myself from his grip.”

Also on that day, Paul Scharner, who had spent the last half of last season on loan at Wigan, turned down an offer that would have released him from his contract, which runs until 2014, for compensation of €500,000 to be paid back when he signed a deal at another club. Scharner rejected the offer and hired a lawyer.

On Wednesday, Fink and director of sport Oliver Kreuzer suspended Rincon and Aogo for the forthcoming match away to Hertha Berlin.

“As Marcell Jansen broke his toe and is a doubt for Saturday, the coach has reflected on Aogo,” Kreuzer said. “I can understand that, but both are suspended. Mallorca is a no-go after a 5-1 defeat.”

On Thursday, Bild linked Magath with a return to Hamburg, with whom he won the 1983 European Cup. The paper claimed Magath could run for the club presidency, and described the situation at Hamburg as being like a “loony bin”.

Hamburg captain Rafael van der Vaart admitted: “We have had a very bad week. It is normal that a lot of people are saying bad things about us now. We must do all we can so that the fans love us again and we win back our honour.”

Ahead of the season, Hamburg had expressed hopes of returning to European competition. But they have had problems in moving on players including Scharner, Michael Mancienne and Gojko Kacar as they look to cut their wage bill and bring in new faces.

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