Bundesliga side Hamburg have fired coach Bert van Marwijk after just 143 days in charge, following the club's seventh league defeat in succession. Ex-Hannover boss Mirko Slomka is being touted as favorite to replace him.
Hamburg made the announcement in a statement after the board met on Saturday night, following the side's 4-2 humiliation at the hands of bottom side Eintracht Braunschweig.
"We felt obliged to take this decision now although at the same time we regret it," said Hamburg's sporting director Oliver Kreuzer, who also thanked van Marwijk.
The former Netherlands boss presided over a side that has the worst defensive record in the Bundesliga this season, having shipped 51 goals in 21 matches. In addition, the club suffered acrushing German Cup quarterfinal defeat
on Wednesday, losing 5-0 at home to Bayern Munich.
The club said the 61-year-old's dismissal, and that of his assistant Roel Coumans, would take place "with immediate effect."
Hamburg said it was "responding to the seventh loss in a row and to slipping to 17th in the table." The defeat allowed Braunschweig to move within a point of Hamburg at the foot of the league table, with 13 games remaining.
The favorite to take on the onerous task of maintaining Hamburg's unrivalled status as a top-flight Bundesliga side is former Hannover coach Mirko Slomka. Hamburg is the only club to have played every season in the top division of the Bundesliga since its formation in 1963.
Hamburg had taken the lead on Saturday against Braunschweig when striker Pierre-Michel Lasogga scored the opening goal on 23 minutes. However, Braunschweig's Democratic Republic of Congo-born Dominick Kumbela amassed a hat trick, with Hamburg only responding once with an equalizer from Croatia midfielder Ivo Ilicevic. Braunschweig increased their tally in added time, through midfielder Jan Hochscheidt.
Van Marwijk was Hamburg's 10th coach in the last decade, having replaced former manager Thorsten Fink in September.
He was the fourth Dutchman to coach Hamburg after Huub Stevens, Martin Jol and Ricardo Moniz. Van Marwijk led the Netherlands to the 2010 World Cup final against Spain but resigned after a disappointing performance in Euro 2012.
Former Bayern Munich manager Felix Magath had been linked with a return to his old club Hamburg earlier in the week, but was on Friday confirmed as the new manager of English Premier League side Fulham. In a statement on Thursday, Magath had said that "too many of the old guard" were still in place at Hamburg and that they were "not interested in an honest new start."
rc/lw (AFP, AP, Reuters)