Yet again, Hamburg, the Bundesliga's only constant presence, find themselves in a battle for first-division survival. Now the chairman - and sporting director - Dietmar Beiersdorfer, is coming under fire.
It can't be a lot of fun to be Dietmar Beiersdorfer these days. Ten games into the Bundesliga season, Hamburg (HSV) are winless and bottom of the table with just two points, six points from the safety of 15th place.
Sacking former head coach Bruno Labbadia and replacing him with Markus Gisdol five games into the campaign clearly failed to produce the short-term upturn in fortunes that a coaching change can often bring.
Now the focus is on the chairman, Beiersdorfer. For the six months since he fired sporting director Peter Knäbel, Beiersdorfer has also been handling those duties - with precious little success. Having come to the conclusion that this, and not Gisdol, is the problem, Beiersdorfer has spent the past few weeks looking to hire a new fulltime sporting director, also with little success.
Until Sunday, media reports made it seem as if it was just a matter of time until Christian Hochstätter would sign on the dotted line. However, the deal collapsed after Beiersdorfer refused to pay the three million euros ($3.2 million) that Hochstätter's current club, second-division Bochum, had reportedly demanded in compensation.
Beiersdorfer has tried to put a brave face on what many regard as an embarrassing situation for the club.
"Is it a setback for negotiations to ended because HSV is not prepared to meet the absurd demands of another club? I don't believe so," he said in an interview posted on Hamburg's official website.
He also said that there was no shortage of résumés on his desk and that if he wanted to, he could "without a problem unveil a new sporting director tomorrow."
However, it's all about "choosing the right man for the situation that we are in," he said.
It's hard to argue with that last statement but it doesn't look good when too many leading candidates for the sporting director's post come and go without getting a deal done. First it was former Hamburg defender Nico-Jan Hoogma, currently the general manager at Dutch club Heracles Almelo, who seemed to have the inside track on the job, then it was former Schalke sporting director Horst Heldt - before Hochstätter become the frontrunner.
Despite the team's plight, Hamburg's supervisory board expressed their support for the chairman at a meeting on Monday evening - instructing him to carry on as what must be described as the club's interim sporting director, until he can find a replacement.
Now the board, Hamburg fans and the media are wondering who the next candidate is that Beiersdorfer might have up his sleeve. On Monday Karlsruhe's sporting director, former national team player Jens Todt, denied that Hamburg had been in contact with him about the vacancy, but this doesn't mean that couldn't still happen. However, it seems whoever eventually winds up taking the job will do so with the knowledge that he will be, at best, Beiersdorfer's fourth or fifth choice for the job.