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Karlsruher hoping to end Hamburg's 52-year stay in the Bundesliga

Karlsruher are confident of inflicting a first ever relegation from the Bundesliga on Hamburg when they meet in Germany's relegation/promotion playoff.

The two clubs face each other on Thursday at Hamburg's Volksparkstadion for the first leg of a tie which will decide whether Die Rothosen get relegated to the 2. Bundesliga or Karlsruher gain promotion to the Bundesliga.

Hamburg claimed 10 points in their last five games to secure a place in the playoff for a second consecutive season, rather than face automatic relegation.

Karlsruher, aiming to return to the top flight tier after six years away, are hopeful of causing an upset, despite Hamburg being firm favourites going into the tie.

"It's in our own hands," Karlsruher coach Markus Kauczinkski told reporters following a 2-0 victory against 1860 Munich at the weekend. "We are difficult to beat and HSV will realise that."

Hamburg's clock in the Volksparkstadion counts the years, days and hours of their Bundesliga participation.

Karlsruher defender Philipp Max is also confident of ending Hamburg's 52-year stay in the Bundesliga.

"We might be the clear outsiders in the playoffs, but eventually HSV are due [to get relegated]. I think that it's about time that we turn off that clock," he told reporters, referring to the giant clock in the Volksparkstadion counting the years, days and hours of Hamburg's Bundesliga participation.

Elsewhere, Freiburg coach Christian Streich has accepted the club's relegation from the German top flight. His side dropped three places from 14th to 17th following a 2-1 defeat at Hannover at the weekend.

"Hamburg beat Schalke, Stuttgart beat Paderborn. We lost, that's why went down. That's sport," he said.

Freiburg were relegated after six years in the top flight, despite only suffering 14 defeats -- one less than Augsburg, who finished fifth. They threw away six leads during the final three minutes of their games against Hertha Berlin, Hoffenheim, Mainz, Paderborn, Hannover and Hamburg.

"I am sorry for Freiburg. Christian Streich will be missed in Bundesliga. #character," Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos wrote on Twitter.


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