The Red Shorts, in serious danger of losing their status as the top-flight's only ever-present club, have turned to the experienced 49-year-old - who had a spell in charge of the club between 2009 and 2010 - to steer them out of trouble with six games of the season remaining. The club also confirmed that, in the event of relegation, Labbadia's contract will also be valid for Bundesliga 2.
Labbadia: 'No time to lose'
“We’ve decided to take this step because we consider the issue of coach to be of the utmost importance. In Bruno Labbadia, we have a strong coach, as well as one experienced in fighting relegation battles,” said chairman of the board Dietmar Beiersdorfer.
Labbadia himself, who also represented the club as a player between 1987 and 1989, has thrown himself into the challenge with energy and enthusiasm, having signed his contract in the early hours of Wednesday morning and already held discussions on the playing squad.
“We have no time to lose,” said the Darmstadt native. “We’ll go into the northern derby with Werder with the best preparation we can have, and we’ll do the same for the remaining games. Every point counts for us, and I’m delighted that, as always, HSV still has such support from the fans. Our remit is to perform as a team until the final game of the season. Nothing else matters.”
Knäbel resumes previous role
Peter Knäbel, interim coach for the team’s last two matches, will return to his previous role of sporting director, and he echoed the sentiments of his colleagues by declaring that HSV’s priority is the here and now, although he did hint at the importance of having found a long-term solution for HSV.
“We reflected on the decisions we’d made, things we’d learned and the performances of the team and together came to the conclusion that a long-term clarification of the coach’s position could give us an important impetus in the relegation battle," said Knäbel. "On that basis, we arrived at this decision. We wanted clarity surrounding the question of [who would be] coach, and we have that now. Total focus must now be on the derby at Werder."
Hamburg currently prop up the league table following Matchday 28’s 2-0 home defeat to VfL Wolfsburg.
"Boost for the home straight: Bruno Labbadia receives a 15-month contract [irrespective of HSV's top-flight status] as head coach." reads this tweet from the club.