Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Bundesliga Preview: Klopp begins long goodbye, Hamburg turn to Labbadia

SoccerNews in Bundesliga 16 Apr 2015

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After Jurgen Klopp announced he would be leaving Borussia Dortmund at the end of the season, focus at Signal Iduna Park returns to on-field matters with Saturday’s visit of relegation-threatened Paderborn.

Klopp – Dortmund’s most successful coach with a points-per-game ratio of 1.9 and two Bundesliga titles – is to call time on his seven-year tenure at the end of the season.

Dortmund, who have endured a rocky campaign domestically, now sit 10th thanks to a recent revival and Klopp’s bid to finish with a flourish continues against lowly Paderborn.

Despite victory over Augsburg last time out, Andre Breitenreiter’s men remain in the relegation mix-up, as do Hamburg who opted for another change of coach in midweek.

The league’s bottom side have entrusted Bruno Labbadia with the task of maintaining their status as top flight ever-presents – the 49-year-old, who was in charge at the Imtech Arena in 2009-10, becoming the club’s fourth coach of the season.

Following on from Mirko Slomka, Josef Zinnbauer and Peter Knabel, Labbadia’s tenure starts with a trip to Werder Bremen in the Nordderby.

“We have no time to waste,” chief executive officer Dietmar Beiersdorf told Hamburg’s official website.

“We are all set up for the derby at Werder and also focused on the games that follow. For us, every point counts.”

Eintracht Frankfurt get the weekend’s action under way on Friday as they take on Borussia Monchengladbach without injured top scorer Alexander Meier.

Top two Bayern Munich and Wolfsburg face Hoffenheim and Schalke respectively – the champions having suffered a rare UEFA Champions League defeat at the hands of Porto in midweek – while Stuttgart look to address a poor record against Augsburg.

Stuttgart have not beaten Augsburg since November 2012, although maximum points at the SGL Arena on Saturday could see Huub Stevens’ side move out of the bottom three.

Hannover and Freiburg sit perilously above the drop zone on 29 points with the pair facing contrasting challenges in Bayer Leverkusen and Mainz respectively.

While Roger Schmidt’s side are on course for UEFA Champions League qualification thanks to a six-match winning run in the league, Mainz have taken just six points from their last five games.

Elsewhere, Cologne face Hertha Berlin with both sides in need of points to make certain their safety.

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