Hamburger SV have sacked Bruno Labbadia after the club picked up just one point from their first five Bundesliga matches this season.
The timing of the announcement on Sunday morning comes as some surprise, after his side almost held out to earn a goalless draw against champions Bayern Munich the day before, only losing to a 88th minute winner from Joshua Kimmich.
His assistants Eddy Sözer and Bernhard Trares have also been relieved of their duties.
Last season counts for nothing in the end
The 50-year-old had been in his second spell in the charge of the club. He had originally succeeded Martin Jol in the summer of 2009, but was sacked in April of the following year after a 5-1 defeat to TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, with the club on the brink of missing out on a European place having spent the early weeks of the season challenging at the very top of the table.
He returned in April of last year, with the club rock bottom of the Bundesliga, and just about steered them to survival, with Marcelo Diaz and Nicolai Muller goals enough to eventually beat Karlsruher SC in that year’s relegation play-off.
By recent standards, Labbadia’s one full season in charge was a step in the right direction, with the club finish tenth, a stark contrast to the relegation battles of recent seasons.
However despite that progress, Labbadia has found little faith from the club’s board following the poor start this time out. The club spent over €30 million on new players in the summer, but their only point so far came in the opening game against FC Ingolstadt 04, with defeats following to Bayer Leverkusen, RB Leipzig, SC Freiburg and Bayern.
A “necessary” decision
According to reports in Germany, club CEO Dietmar Beiersdorfer informed Labbadia of his sacking in a phone call. In a statement on the club’s website, Beiersdorfer said that the decision was “necessary” given the downward trend the side has shown so far in the new campaign.
“I am convinced that we need to make a change to the position of coach now to provide the sporting turnaround after a disappointing start to the season,” he said.
“On behalf of HSV at as a whole, I want to thank Bruno for his work,” he added. “It will be unforgettable what he has achieved in a very challenging and difficult time.”
The club will announce in the next few days who will replace him on either a temporary or permanent basis. Markus Gisdol, also linked with the vacant Werder Bremen job, and André Villas-Boas have been mooted in the press as possible replacements.
Quotes from Hamburger SV.