Hamburg hires former FC Basel coach Thorsten Fink
Hamburger SV hired Thorsten Fink as its new coach Thursday after Swiss champion FC Basel released the German from his contract.
Hamburg, which is bottom of the Bundesliga, said the 43-year-old Fink signed a contract until June 2014, bringing an end to its long search for a replacement for the sacked Michael Oenning.
Basel earlier said on its website that it agreed to terminate Fink's contract after ''several discussions and negotiations.'' Fink was under contract with the two-time defending Swiss champions until 2013.
German media reported that Hamburg agreed to pay Basel almost ?1 million ($1.4 million) in compensation.
''I had to make a difficult decision after getting the offer from Hamburg,'' the dapd news agency reported Fink as saying. ''I'm certain I'm leaving the team in good shape and I express my regret to those I disappoint by taking this step.''
Basel hosts Benfica in the Champions League on Tuesday, with top spot in Group C at stake.
''I am very, very happy that Thorsten Fink is coming to us,'' Hamburg sporting director Frank Arnesen said. ''He's a coach with hunger and he's a winner with a clear philosophy of football, which is the same as mine.''
Arnesen said talks with Basel and vice president Bernhard Heusler were ''very fair.''
Hamburg striker Mladen Petric played for Basel between 2004 and '07 and received text messages from former teammates.
''One told me we're finally now getting a good coach and another said Fink was the best coach he ever had,'' Petric told dapd.
Fink told Sport1 television that he always admired Hamburg ''from the time I was a small child and HSV shone in Europe and celebrated its biggest successes.''
''As a player, regardless of whether it was with Karlsruher SC or Bayern Munich, the games against the HSV were always quite special,'' he said.
Fink told Hamburg's website it did not take him long to decide to coach the club.
''The HSV is a brand and club with huge potential and a unique fan culture. The current situation is difficult but you can certainly do a lot. That will be my job. The possibilities and structures for more successful times are there. We have to look forward,'' Fink said.
Oenning was fired on Sept. 19, following the club's worst ever start to a season in which it gathered one point from six league games.
Interim coach Rodolfo Cardoso led Hamburg to its first and only win (2-1 at Stuttgart) but the Argentine's work permit expired on Saturday and Arnesen was named coach on Monday.
Arnesen will remain in charge for Hamburg's visit to Freiburg on Sunday, with Fink expected to report for duty on Monday.
Hamburg has never been relegated from the top division, and is the only team to have played in the Bundesliga continuously since it was formed in 1963.
Fink led Basel to two Swiss league titles and one cup win after taking over in 2009.
Basel said assistant coach Heiko Vogel will take over on an interim basis until the end of December while it looks for a permanent replacement.
Chelsea assistant coach Roberto Di Matteo and FC Luzern coach Murat Yakin have already been touted as possible successors.