September 18, 2014 / 9:07 AM / 3 years ago

Hamburg plot league comeback after sacking coach Slomka

BERLIN (Reuters) - Former European champions Hamburg SV are plotting how to turn their season around after sacking coach Mirko Slomka this week and facing champions Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga on Saturday.

Hamburg SV's head coach Mirko Slomka reacts during the German Telekom Cup soccer match against VfL Wolfsburg in Hamburg, July 26, 2014. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer

Hamburg, who needed a relegation playoff to stay up last season, have only one point from three league games so far with Slomka paying the price for their bad run after seven months in charge.

Reserve coach Joe Zinnbauer was named as a temporary replacement but the 44-year-old, with no previous Bundesliga coaching experience, has a mountain to climb for his first game in charge.

Despite spending tens of millions of euros in the transfer window bringing in such players as Lewis Holtby, Nicolai Mueller, U.S. international Julian Greece, Swiss Valon Behrami and signing striker Pierre-Michel Lasogga permanently following last season’s loan from Hertha Berlin, Hamburg have yet to deliver.

The club has yet to score a single goal in the Bundesliga and is sitting in last place as the champions arrive in Hamburg on Saturday.

“The problem is in our heads,” Zinnbauer told reporters. “It is an issue of our quality as a team and not our quality as individual players.”

“That is why we have to bring emotions back into this. My concept is about dominating. I have to have the reins in my hands.”

The match against Bayern, fresh from their Champions League win against Manchester City, could not have come at a more inappropriate time for the troubled northerners but Zinnbauer remained convinced it is a blessing in disguise.

“It is a real motivation for every coach to play in front of 50,000 fans instead of 500,” he said. “No one expects us to do anything so there is nothing easier than facing Bayern at this moment.”

He has also warned his players there are no reserved spots in his squad and he made his point clear when he added several youth team players to the senior team training on Wednesday.

“If it does not fit in the top team then I will bring players in from the under-23 team. I have no mercy in this respect,” Zinnbauer said. “We have several players in the youth team who can play in the Bundesliga one day.”

Editing by Amlan Chakraborty

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