- Associated Press - Monday, January 22, 2018

HAMBURG, Germany (AP) - Hamburger SV appointed former player Bernd Hollerbach as the coach on Monday in a bid to save the side from Bundesliga relegation.

Hollerbach signed a deal to take charge through June 2019, taking over from the sacked Markus Gisdol.

The club is placing its faith in an old friend in Hollerbach, who scored 23 goals in 197 Bundesliga appearances for Hamburg from 1996 to 2004, before he turned to coaching.

“I don’t think I need to introduce myself. Most here still know me. There are a lot of familiar faces,” Hollerbach said at his presentation after overseeing his first training session.

“I observed a very engaged team today. My goal is to get my team to act on the pitch, not just react. But it’s important we stay compact and don’t make it easy for the opponent to score goals.”

Hollerbach last coached his hometown club Wuerzburger Kickers. He took over in 2014 and led it from the fourth tier to the second division in two years. However, Hollerbach resigned from the team last year when it was relegated from the second division back to the third tier.

Hamburg is banking on the 48-year-old Hollerbach to turn around a downward curve that leaves the club in danger of its first relegation from the Bundesliga after playing every season since the league’s formation in 1963. Hamburg is the only founding member to have done so.

“Everybody who knew me as a player knows that I put everything possible into it. I’m going to do that now also (as coach). So I’m also certain that we’ll survive,” Hollerbach.

Gisdol was fired early Sunday following Hamburg’s 2-0 loss to last-place Cologne. It was the team’s fourth league loss in a row, and its sixth straight without a win. Hamburg is only three points from the bottom.

“We believe that a new impetus is urgently needed to achieve the previous goal of survival,” Hamburg chairman Heribert Bruchhagen said on Sunday.

Gisdol had been in charge since September 2016 but never managed to steer the side away from the bottom half of the table. Hamburg finished one point above the relegation zone last season. While it finished five points clear in 2016, the club needed the playoffs to survive in 2015 and 2014.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

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