SV Hamburg axe coach Walter as Bundesliga promotion in danger again

Hamburger SV head coach Tim Walter stands on the pitch before the German Bundesliga 2 soccer match between Hertha BSC and Hamburger SV at Olympiastadion. SV Hamburg on Monday parted ways with coach Tim Walter in the wake of inconsistent results which have raised fears they could fail to win promotion back into the top flight Bundesliga yet again. Soeren Stache/dpa
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SV Hamburg on Monday parted ways with coach Tim Walter in the wake of inconsistent results which have raised fears they could fail to win promotion back into the top flight Bundesliga yet again.

The decision came in the wake of a second straight 4-3 home defeat, on Friday against Hanover.

Hamburg said that assistant coach Merlin Polzin would be in charge for now, with the next game set for Saturday at lowly Hansa Rostock.

Former European and Bundesliga champions Hamburg are placed third in the second division which would earn a play-off. The top two finishers gain direct promotion.

"We underwent an analysis after the disappointing home defeat against Hanover and came to the decision that we must make a change in order not to endanger our goals for the season," board member for sport Jonas Boldt said in a club statement.

Potential candidates for the coaching job include Steffen Baumgart who had to go in December at Cologne and has been linked with the Hamburg job for a while.

But dpa has learnt that there has been no contact so far after the latest developments.

Hamburg met with Baumgart in 2021 before the appoitnment of Walter but he was already in advanced talks with Cologne at the time.

Hamburg were relegated for the first time in club history in 2018 and have since failed five times to get back into the top flight. They placed fourth in the first three seasons and lost play-offs in 2022 and 2023.

Walter was in charge since 2021 and only three men have served longer terms at the club in the past 40 years: Ernst Happel (1981-1987), Benno Möhlmann (1992-1995) and Frank Pagelsdorf (1997-2001).

Walter, 48, was close to be being axed before Christmas but was retained at the time. His self confidence and risky attacking game plan with little defensive stability had long been criticised by some.

Hamburg have arguably the strongest squad in the league but defeats against smaller clubs like bottom ranked Osnabrück eventually cost Walter the job due to the inconsistency which also included the 4-3 home defeats against Karlsruhe and Hanover, after wins away at relegated sides Schalke and Hertha Berlin, respectively.

"Our performance fluctuations in the past few games were too great and we lack the full conviction that we will achieve the necessary balance and stability in our game in this set-up in the coming weeks," Boldt said.