Hamburg sacks chairman Bruchhagen and sporting director Todt

FILE - In this Sept. 24, 2017 file photo Hamburg's chairman Heribert Bruchhagen, left, and sports director Jens Todt attend the Bundesliga soccer match between Bayer Leverkusen and Hamburger SV in Leverkusen, Germany. Relegation-threatened Hamburger SV has sacked chairman Heribert Bruchhagen and sporting director Jens Todt Thursday, March 8, 2018. (Marius Becker/dpa via AP,file)

HAMBURG, Germany — Relegation-threatened Hamburger SV sacked club chairman Heribert Bruchhagen and sporting director Jens Todt on Thursday.

Hamburg said it was "starting its realignment" as it prepares for life in the second division. The club is second from bottom and seven points from safety in the Bundesliga with nine games remaining,

Club president Bernd Hoffmann, who narrowly defeated the incumbent Jens Meier for the position, informed Bruchhagen of the decision on Thursday.

"We decided on this step after detailed analysis of the whole situation and are devoting ourselves to the new direction," said Hoffmann, who took over the chairmanship of the supervisory board.

The previous deputy chairman Frank Wettstein was to take over the operative leadership while the club seeks a replacement for Bruchhagen.

"He has our full confidence," Hoffmann said of Wettstein.

Todt was also let go. The club said his duties, including all contract negotiations, were to be shared among members of the sports department "so that there are no operative gaps."

Hamburg, the only remaining founding member of the Bundesliga never to be relegated, visits runaway leader Bayern Munich on Saturday.

The club has been consistently fighting against relegation in recent years, escaping through playoffs in 2014 and 2015. Last season the side beat Wolfsburg to avoid another playoff on the final day. This season is the club's worst yet with just four wins in 24 games.

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