Race against time to find new Hamburg coach

Head in hands at Hamburg: HSV are bottom of the Bundesliga

Head in hands at Hamburg: HSV are bottom of the Bundesliga

Position vacant: Former Bundesliga champions looking to recruit German-speaking coach to save team in crisis. Potential candidates must have coaching badge. And be available to work immediately.

Hamburg haven’t quite been reduced to advertising for a new coach, but their search for a replacement for the sacked Michael Oenning is becoming urgent.

Having been spurned by a couple of big name coaches, HSV were refused the right to keep caretaker coach Rodolfo Cardoso for their next match.

The Argentine doesn’t hold a Bundesliga coaching certificate so cannot, according to league rules, manage the team for more than 15 days. The Deutsche Fussball Liga (DFL) has refused to make an exception for Hamburg, so the international break could not have come at a better time for the former European champions

Though a product of the youth set up at Estudiantes, the student life never suited the young Rodolfo, who quit school early to pursue his football dream. Cardoso has lived in Germany since 1989, but still struggles with the grammatical details of the language of Goethe: he has twice failed the coaching entry exam.  

The delicious irony here is that Cardoso’s record, albeit short, outshines his well-qualified predecessor. Oenning’s Hamburg won a single point from six games (an appalling average of 0.17 points per match) while Cardoso has three from two (a respectable 1.5 per match).

Indeed, not having a license seems to be little hindrance to success in the Bundesliga: when the highly unqualified Markus Babbel took over at Stuttgart in November 2008, the club were rooted in the bottom half of the table. By season’s end, they were third, just five points behind the champions.

Hamburg Chairman Carl-Edgar Jarchow has worked tirelessly to replace Cardoso. He took Gunter Netzer’s advice and approached Louis van Gaal, but the former Bayern boss somehow turned down the chance to lead a team bottom of the league. Another experienced Dutchman, Huub Stevens, preferred Schalke.

Speechless: Cardoso has boosted Hamburg despite language problems

Speechless: Cardoso has boosted Hamburg despite language problems

All of this leaves the likeable Cardoso in an awkward position. 

“It is all out of my hands,” he said. ”I just carry on working whether it is with the first or the second team. As long as the club need me, I will be there.”

Sporting Director Frank Arnesen, who arrived at Hamburg last summer, has sought to reassure the fans: “We won’t wait until Christmas. For our next game inFreiburg, we will have a coach with a licence on the bench.”

But Hamburg are reduced to scratching around their backroom staff for another caretaker coach with a coaching licence.

Assistant coach Frank ”Funny” Heinemann is one option, but a tricky trip to Freiburg on 16 October is no laughing matter. Goalkeeping coach Ronny Teuber is another possibility, but there is a real chance that the license-holding Arnesen himself might be on the bench at the Badenova Stadium.

Some think a license holder could be the official coach, with Cardoso really pulling the strings. But that could mean Cardoso effectively giving orders to his boss at Freiburg. To complete the horseplay, Arnesen’s own German is far from flawless.

News magazine Welt mocked the whole situation:

”Why does a football coach even need to speak good German?”

In the meantime, there’s a race against time to find a coach.

Hamburg’s top brass has three main requirements for the candidate: fluent German; and understanding of the Bundesliga; and the ability to work for Arnesen.

And it’s the last skill set that may be the problem.

Hamburg’s fans are loyal (more than 54 000 turned up for the last home match) but frustrated. And some are beginning to blame Arnesen for the club’s predicament.

Most expected a clear out when the Dane arrived, but the departures of Ruud van Nistelrooy, Ze Roberto, Eljero Elia, Piotr Trochowski and Joris Mathijsen have proved too heavy a hit for the team.

The former Chelsea Director of Football brought in Stamford Bridge misfits Michael Mancienne, Jeffrey Bruma and Slobodan Rajkovic, who have proved woefully out of their depth in the German top flight.

If the new coach can’t stop the rot, fans will be blaming Arnesen and not the bureaucrats at the DFL for the club’s plight.

Andreas Evagora

Deputy Head

Eurosport 2

There’s no Bundesliga action this weekend but live coverage will be back on Eurosport2 from 14 October. Coverage in north and east Europe only.

For more Bundesliga blogs go to http://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com/football/the-ballacks/

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