Hamburg suffer injury blow in relegation battle
Relegation-threatened Hamburg suffered more bad news on Sunday as key defender Slobodan Rajkovic was ruled out for the rest of the season with torn knee ligaments.
The 25-year-old centre-back was stretchered off during Saturday's 1-0 defeat at neighbours Werder Bremen which kept Hamburg third from bottom and amongst the relegation places.
The club has confirmed that the Serbia international, one of Hamburg's in-form defenders, has torn both the medial and cruciate ligament in his right knee.
He will miss the remaining 11 games of the season as Hamburg battle to avoid being relegated for the first time from Germany's top flight.
It is more bad news for new coach Mirko Slomka whose side have just one win in their last 10 games and face key forthcoming fixtures against fellow strugglers Eintracht Frankfurt and Nuremberg.
The club wished Rajkovic a speedy recovery and Slomka said the loss of the Serbian defender had unsettled his team in Bremen.
"After Rajkovic's injury, there was a break in our game," said Slomka.
"We fell back into our poor patterns of the first-half and focused on fighting for possession.
"Now come two important home games for us and we will do everything we can to win them."
Midfielder Milan Badelj also fractured a bone in his left hand against Bremen, but should be fit to face both Frankfurt and Nuremberg by wearing a protective cast.