Hamburg have moved swiftly following Sunday’s dismissal of Markus Gisdol, appointing former player Bernd Hollerbach as the club's new head coach. The 48-year-old's contract runs until the end of next season.
Hamburg find themselves in the midst of a six-game winless streak following a 2-0 loss to FC Cologne on Matchday 19. The result left the Bundesliga ever-presents three points off the foot of the table and saw them part ways with head coach Markus Gisdol before reports leaked on Sunday that they had already set their sights on their former left back, Bernd Hollerbach.
Hollerbach was assistant to Felix Magath during relatively successful periods at both Wolfsburg and Schalke, while as a head coach, he guided the Würzburg Kickers from the fouth tier to the second division.
Hamburg are the only team never to have suffered relegation from the Bundesliga, but with the glory days of European Cup wins a distant memory, Hollerbach faces a daunting task in attempting to keep the side up and his contract is valid for the second division.
For the Würzburg native, the move to Hamburg is something of a homecoming, as during his days as a player, he made almost 200 appearances in all competitions for HSV between 1996 and 2004. He took charge of his first training session with his new team on Monday afternoon, before facing reporters at his first press conference since taking the job.
Confident about avoiding the drop
Flanked by Bruchhagen and sporting director Jens Todt, Hollerbach pledged to do everything in his power to save Hamburg from the drop.
"I am sure that we will remain [in the first division] he said.
Hollerbach said his first impression of the team was positive and that all of the players had worked hard in training, "but it's always like that when a new coach arrives."
He said he planned to spend much of his first week in charge getting to know his players both in training and by meeting with each of them individually. Beyond that he said his plan was to ensure that the team functions more as a unit for the rest of the season than they have so far. His first match in charge, though, won't be the easiest, as Hamburg, who are in 17th place in the standings, travel to fourth-placed Leipzig on Saturday.
Asked whether there were any plans to strengthen the squad, sporting director Todt said that he and his staff were carefully exploring the player market and that the new coach would have a say in any transfer activity.