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By ESPN Staff
Nov 2, 2006

Coach Doll says Hamburg let German football down

HAMBURG, Germany, Nov 2 (Reuters) - Hamburg SV's meek exit from the Champions League let down German football as well as the club and their fans, according to coach Thomas Doll.

Hamburg, the 1983 European champions, saw their faint hopes of progress from Group G extinguished when they lost 3-1 at home to Porto on Wednesday, making it four defeats from four games.

'We represented German football very badly in the Champions League,' Doll told reporters after the players were booed from the pitch at the end of their latest defeat.

'We lacked the necessary aggression and the players will have to look at themselves and think about whether they really put everything they had into their performances.'

Hamburg fell behind just before halftime to a fabulous strike from Lucho Gonzalez and it was only after Porto had increased their lead in the 61st minute through Lisandro Lopez that the home side showed signs of life.

Rafael van der Vaart, making his first appearance in the group phase after a long injury lay-off, headed in powerfully from Piotr Trochowski's cross and Hamburg had chances to equalise before substitute Bruno Moraes made the game safe for Porto.

'It's simply not good enough to start playing only after you've gone one or two goals down,' Doll said.

'I can totally understand why the crowd were whistling the players.'

Hamburg have had rotten luck with injuries during the group phase and Doll was hardly helped by the club's decision to sell defenders Khalid Boulahrouz and Daniel van Buyten before the start of the competition.

The team have played poorly in domestic competition, too: they are already out of the German Cup and with nine games played in the Bundesliga they have managed just one win.

Doll said he was satisfied he had sufficient quality in the squad, however, and promised a recovery in the Bundesliga.

'The quality is there and the players have the right character,' he said. 'They just have to show it.

'We now have to concentrate on the Bundesliga and I'm convinced we can come back.'