BERLIN (Reuters) - Former European champions’ Hamburg SV’s blundering season start will not rattle the team as it prepares for its Bundesliga season start against champions Bayern Munich, the club’s CEO Dietmar Beiersdorfer said on Wednesday.
Hamburg were dumped out of the German Cup first round by fourth-tier Carl Zeiss Jena 3-2 on Sunday before the personal bag of sports director Peter Knaebel, containing sensitive team details, including players’ salary data, was found in a Hamburg park a day later.
They travel to Hamburg on Friday for the season opener, having lost their last match in Munich 8-0 in February.
“The last few days were certainly not beautiful, anything but happy,” Beiersdorfer told a news conference. “The Cup game was unacceptable and should never have happened in such a way.”
“We had a good preparation...better than in past years so the defeat was a collective setback,” he said.
Hamburg twice needed a relegation playoff too remain in the Bundesliga in the past two seasons. The team is the only one to have played every season in the Bundesliga since the top league’s creation in 1963.
“We will not be rattled by just one game. Our coach (Bruno Labbadia) has told the team that, both calmly and emotionally. We expect a reaction by the team.”
“We start this season in a positive way. We have taken the next step in overhauling the team. We are on the right track and know it can’t happen in just one season.”
Beiersdorfer also backed Knaebel, saying it was not him who was responsible for losing the bag and that police were investigating the case.
“That was a real blow,” said Beiersdorfer, adding the club had filed a criminal complaint against unknown persons.
“We have expressed out trust in Peter Knaebel. Fact is documents were found. but it was an unknown person who did it, not Knaebel,” said Beiersdorfer.
Labbadia preferred to focus on the match ahead saying Hamburg captain Johan Djourou would be fit to play against the Bavarians after completing training earlier on Wednesday.
“Against Bayern you need a perfect day,” Labbadia said. “Commitment to run all the time, avoid mistakes and countering their pressure. I want to see my team playing with passion.”
Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; editing by Amlan Chakraborty