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Sports

Bundesliga News: Week Six

Hamburg coach Klaus Toppmöller eyes the exit ahead of Hertha clash; Bosses of Kuranyi's assailant offer apologies for horror tackle, crocked Bochum striker out for six months.

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Klaus Toppmöller acquaints himself with the directions to the job center

Hamburg's current struggles are a world away from the most memorable season Klaus Toppmöller enjoyed with Bayer Leverkusen. He nearly claimed the Bundesliga title, European Champions League and DFB Cup in the 2001/02 season but at Hamburg SV this year, he is finding it very difficult to win one match.

Since Toppmöller took over, the 1983 European champions have won only one of their five Bundesliga games so far and have lost the other four, leaving them third from bottom. A visit from Hertha Berlin on Sunday could prove very uncomfortable for the 53-year-old if his current charges achieve anything less than victory.

The German media are already unfairly speculating on who might replace him if Hamburg lose and Toppmöller is pushed, with former Hamburg player Thomas Doll and Hungary coach Lothar Matthäus the two favorites.

The ominous words of encouragement from the board have been sounded, a usual precursor to the boot. "There is no discussion about the coach," club chairman Bernd Hoffmann said last week. That was before the 2-1 defeat at Kaiserslautern last Saturday. "He will stay as long as we are convinced that the team is listening to him and that he has influence," said sports director Dietmar Beiersdorfer said after the game.

One of the game's most respected coaches may well be looking for a job after the weekend. Watch this space.

Ujpest apologize for Kuranyi horror tackle

Kevin Kuranyi

Kevin Kuranyi.

The Hungarian side Ujpest, Stuttgart's UEFA Cup opponents, have sent a letter of apology to the Bundesliga side following the tackle that saw Kevin Kuranyi taken out of the first leg in Hungary with suspected torn cruciate ligaments.

Striker Kuranyi was fouled by Budapest midfielder Gabor Nagy and will miss up to a month following the incident in the hard-fought encounter, which Stuttgart won 3-1. Ujpest have apologized for the aggressive nature of the challenge in a letter sent to Stuttgart on Tuesday.

"We were pleased to receive the message from Budapest and welcome this touch of fair play," said Stuttgart general manager Thomas Weyhing. "We now hope everything runs smoothly in the return leg."

Ironically, Nagy will also miss next week's clash in Stuttgart after he suffered a cruciate ligament injury in the Hungarian league game against Matav Sopron on Sunday, sidelining him for six months.

UEFA knee trouble seems contagious

Bundesliga 2003 Vereinslogos VfL Bochum 1848

Bochum striker Mamadou Diabang will be out of action for about six months after becoming another Bundesliga victim of cruciate ligament damage last week. Diabang went down during Bochum's UEFA Cup draw against Belgian club Standard Liege last Thursday. Tests Monday revealed the extent of the injury. Diabang has been used mostly as a substitute after coming over from Arminia Bielefeld in 2003. The Senegalese striker has scored just one goal this season, but it was a game-winner against his former club. Bochum is unbeaten in five Bundesliga matches this season, winning once and tying four times.

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