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The HSV skipper says the club are in a relegation dogfight and performances in the second half of the season need to be better

Hamburg captain Rafael van der Vaart admits he is concerned about the prospect of relegation from Germany's top tier having only picked up 16 points from 17 games this season.

Since the inception of the Bundesliga in 1963, HSV have been the only German club not to have been relegated from the top flight. However, that stat is in jepoardy as they sit only two points above the relegation zone halfway through the campaign.

Despite the arrival of former Netherlands national team coach Bert van Marwijk in September, results have not significantly improved and Van der Vaart admits their performances have not been good enough.

“We have got far too little points,” he told the Hamburger Morgenpost.

“For the first time people are questioning whether we can go down, we must be a lot better.”

Van der Vaart’s own form has been called into question as well following what has been a turbulent year for him personally.

However, the Dutchman insists he is fully focussed on helping to steer the club away from trouble.

He added: “I’m fine, the time off for the winter break was important. Now we have to strive hard and show what we can do in the first game against Schalke. This cannot go on.”

Hamburg’s next league game is at home to Schalke on January 26.