Improve or you’re dropped, Hamburg warned by main sponsor

Hamburg, who narrowly avoided relegation from the Bundesliga last season, risk losing their sponsorship with Emirates if their form does not improve.

Hamburg could find themselves looking for a new shirt sponsor soon as current supporter Emirates does not want to be associated with a second rate product.

The club escaped relegation last season after winning a relegation playoff against Greuther Furth on away goals.

Their form has not improved this season, with one draw and one defeat against the two newly-promoted sides – Cologne and Paderborn – and questions raised over the future of coach Mirko Slomka.

In an interview with Handelsblatt, Emirates executive vice-president Thierry Antinori has warned that the airline may sever ties with Hamburg unless form improves.

“The performance on the pitch has to be right. The second league [2. Bundesliga] is not for us because as an airline we fly in the first league,” Antinori said, rather cheesily.

He also said that Hamburg stood for “tradition, Kevin Keegan, Franz Beckenbauer, Manfred Kaltz and Horst Hrubesch,” but right now it stands for failure.

Antinori said that Emirates, which has been associated with Hamburg since 2006, is also considering sponsoring another top-flight club, adding that it “doesn’t sponsor two clubs in the Bundesliga at the same time.”

Meanwhile, Bert van Marwijk has called his short stint at Hamburg last season “a mistake.”

Van Marwijk, one of four coaches last term, was only in charge of the  club for 145 days.

“Looking back, I have to say that it was mistake to take the HSV offer,” Van Marwijk told Bild. “It was all haywire. I’ve never experienced anything like that. It was nearly not possible to focus on football. But it happened, and I treat it as an experience.”