"We were forced at this time to make this regretful decision and we thank Bert van Marwijk for his work," said Hamburg's sporting director Oliver Kreuzer in a statement after the board met on Saturday night.

The 61-year-old ex-Netherlands boss, who steered the Oranje to the 2010 World Cup final, was sacked after eight straight defeats with Hamburg second from bottom of the table.

German daily Bild report Mirko Slomka, who was sacked by Hanover 96 in December, is the favourite to replace Van Marwijk for Saturday's Bundesliga match at home to third-placed Borussia Dortmund.

Hammered 5-0 at home by Bayern Munich in the German Cup quarter-finals on Wednesday, Hamburg have also now lost their last seven league games, an unwelcome club record.

They have the worst defensive record in the Bundesliga having leaked 51 goals after 21 matches and are desperate to avoid being relegated from the top flight for the first time in their history.

The defeat at Braunschweig means Hamburg remain second from bottom, but now only four points separate the bottom five teams.

Hamburg took the lead at Braunschweig when striker Pierre-Michel Lasogga grabbed the opening goal on his return from injury on 23 minutes.

But Braunschweig's Democratic Republic of Congo-born Dominick Kumbela came off the bench to score twice before Croatia midfielder Ivo Ilicevic appeared to save Hamburg's blushes with the equaliser 14 minutes from time.

However, Kumbela wrapped up his hat-trick when he pounced in a goal-mouth scramble after another mistake from Hamburg's German international goalkeeper Rene Adler, who had a dreadful afternoon between the posts.

To add to the visitors' misery, midfielder Jan Hochscheidt scored Braunschweig's fourth in the third minute of added time.

There were already angry scenes after Hamburg's 3-0 league defeat at home to Hertha Berlin last Saturday when angry fans pelted the players and attacked their luxury cars.

Van Marwijk was Hamburg's 10th coach in the last decade and only replaced Thorsten Fink in September.