'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
Hamburg haven't quite been reduced to advertising for a new
coach, but their search for a replacement for the sacked Michael Oenning is
Having been spurned by a
couple of big name coaches, HSV were refused the right to keep caretaker coach
Rodolfo Cardoso (pictured, above) 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.
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 licence
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.
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 in Freiburg, we
will have a coach with a licence on the bench."
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 October 16 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 licence 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 is 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 football director brought in Stamford
Bridge misfits Michael
Mancienne, Jeffrey Bruma and Slobodan Rajkovic, who have proved woefully out of
their depth in Germany's elite league.
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