Hamburg and coach Mirko Slomka, the duo that dodged relegation by a gnat's wing last season, have parted ways just three games into the new campaign. In those matches, HSV scored just one point and not a single goal.
The Bundesliga coaching "sack race" is about the only competition that Hamburger Sport-Verein look fit to win these days, and the club's board secured the dubious honor on Monday evening, putting Mirko Slomka on leave of absence. HSV's media director Jörn Wolf confirmed the news to multiple outlets.
Earlier on Monday, after losing 2-0 to Hannover 96 in Sunday's evening match, Slomka had conducted a short training session with his players. His website made no mention of the development, still announcing Saturday's upcoming home game against Bayern Munich. German news agency DPA reported that chairman Dietmar Beiersdorfer broke the news personally to Slomka, also saying that a replacement might be unveiled as early as Tuesday.
Slomka only took up the post in February, narrowly steering the never-relegated "dinosaurs" of the Bundesliga to survival via the relegation playoff. Three matches into the new Bundesliga season, despite some heavy off-season investment on the transfer market, HSV are back at the bottom of the pile. Hamburg have yet to score a goal this season, with just the one point on their account for an opening-day draw with newly-promoted Cologne.
In Hamburg's previous 51 Bundesliga seasons, a figure no other German club can claim, the "dinos" had always netted at least once in their first three games. Leon Andreasen and Artur Sobiech did the damage early in the first half for Hannover on Sunday, before Hamburg spurned several good chances to pull themselves back into contention at coach Slomka's old club.
HSV looked to shore themselves up with new stars in the off-season, funded in part by a new ownership structure
New faces, old problems
Having narrowly dodged the drop, Hamburg spent heavily during the transfer window. The club made striker Pierre-Michel Lasogga a permanent fixture after his year on loan, brought midfielder Lewis Holtby back from his miserable stay in England, and secured US World Cup goal-scorer Julian Green on loan from Bayern Munich. Brazilian Cleber was recruited to bolster the defense, as was Matthias Ostrzolek, while Nicolai Müller moved north from Mainz. All these new weapons have taken to the pitch, none have yet hit the target.
It's not clear who will sit in the dugout for Hamburg's next league match, a home encounter with Bayern Munich. Whoever takes the Hamburg helm has a horrendous run of fixtures in store, also facing Borussia Mönchengladbach, Borussia Dortmund and Hoffenheim during the next five weeks. In the German Cup, the northern Germans are just as short on good fortune, having drawn defending champions Bayern Munich in just the second round.
HSV raced through three coaches last season, dropping Thorsten Fink on September 16, hiring Bert van Marwijk for less than six months, then taking on Slomka. Neither van Marwijk nor Slomka could manage a win-rate of one every five games; both presided over fewer than 20 league matches.
Slomka was free to join Hamburg after his mid-season dismissal from Hannover 96, where the mathematics teacher spent three years, twice leading H96 into the Europa League.