Hecking quits fallen giants Hamburg after missing promotion

Berlin (AFP) – Fallen German giants Hamburg on Saturday parted company with head coach Dieter Hecking, who was only in charge for a year, after blowing their chance to win promotion back to the Bundesliga.

Hamburg, who were relegated in 2018, failed to win promotion from Germany’s second division for the second successive year following an embarrassing 5-1 thumping at home to mid-table Sandhausen last Sunday on the final day of the season.

“We have achieved a lot in the past season, but we did not reach the goal we had set ourselves. I take responsibility for this”, said Hecking in a statement on Saturday.

By mutual consent, six-time German champions Hamburg will not extend Hecking’s contract, which expired when the season finished last weekend.

Following Hamburg’s slip-up against Sandhausen, Heidenheim finished third in the second tier despite losing 3-0 at champions Bielefeld, who are promoted to the Bundesliga alongside Stuttgart.

Heidenheim held Bundesliga side Bremen to a goalless draw in Thursday’s first leg of the relegation/promotion play-off.

The return leg is on Monday with the winner playing in the top flight next season.

Ex-Hamburg striker Andre Breitenreiter, 46, who coached Schalke 04, Hanover and Paderborn in the Bundesliga, is a candidate to replace Hecking, who won the German Cup with Wolfsburg in 2015, when he was voted German manager of the year.