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Page last updated at 12:26 GMT, Monday, 26 April 2010 13:26 UK

Hamburg axe coach Bruno Labbadia

Bruno Labbadia
Labbadia was a prolific striker in the Bundesliga during his playing days

Hamburg have sacked coach Bruno Labbadia only three days before the club's Europa League semi-final second leg tie against Fulham.

After failing to make home advantage tell in Thursday's first-leg 0-0 draw against the Cottagers, Hamburg were drubbed 5-1 at Hoffenheim on Sunday.

"We saw that as things were we would not be able to succeed against Fulham," club chairman Bernd Hoffmann said.

Assistant coach Ricardo Moniz will take charge until the end of the season.

Labbadia succeeded former Tottenham boss Martin Jol at the northern German club last summer, enjoying a successful start to the season.

However, they won just four of their 15 Bundesliga games since the winter break.

Sunday's loss to their mid-table opponents leaves them seventh in the table, five points behind nearest rivals Stuttgart, who hold the last European berth with just two games remaining.

606: DEBATE
CottageDobson

Hamburg's hopes qualifying for Europe next season, therefore, effectively rest on winning the Europa League trophy at their own stadium on 12 May.

"There was no alternative to this," added Hoffmann. "We need to improve the probability of us being successful on Thursday."

Labbadia had admitted that Sunday's performance was "depressing" but angrily dismissed rumours he had lost the dressing room.

"If a team were to play against their coach, then they would also be playing against themselves," he said. "That would make no sense."

The 44-year-old played for Hamburg and Bayern Munich among others during a prolific goalscoring career as a striker in Germany, and won two caps for the national side.

He began his career in management with Darmstadt 98 in 2003, moving on to Greuther Furth before joining Hamburg from Bayer Leverkusen.

Despite their erratic league form, Labbadia had led his troops to the verge of a European final.

They qualified second behind Israeli side Hapoel Tel-Aviv in the Europa League's Group C, beating Celtic 1-0 at Parkhead and drawing with the Glaswegians 0-0 in Germany.

After negotiating PSV Eindhoven, Anderlecht and Standard Liege in the knock-out stages, Hamburg endured a frustrating evening against Roy Hodgson's well-organised west London outfit last week.

Ricardo Moniz
Moniz worked as a coach at Spurs for three seasons before leaving in 2008

Labbadia rued his side's profligacy in wide positions after that stalemate but remained ultra-confident they could advance in Thursday's return leg at Craven Cottage.

"Unfortunately, when we did manage to get down the flanks, the delivery was too inaccurate," he said.

"We'll probably have it easier in England, though, because Fulham will be forced to attack. It's going to be very tight, but I believe my team will secure their place in the final."

However, it will now be 45-year-old Dutchman Moniz, a former member of Spurs' backroom staff who followed Jol to Hamburg, who has the task of trying to take the Germans to a decider against either Atletico Madrid or Liverpool.

"He is incredibly enthusiastic, knows the team and English football well and lives for football," said Hoffmann of Labbadia's interim replacement.



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see also
Hamburg 0-0 Fulham
22 Apr 10 |  Europe
Hodgson worry over Zamora fitness
23 Apr 10 |  Europe
Europa League as it happened
22 Apr 10 |  Football
Europa semis get Uefa green light
19 Apr 10 |  Europe


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