Hamburg coach Thorsten Fink has made Dutch midfield star Rafael van der Vaart captain for the last six league games of the season in a bid to halt his team's slump and win a Europa League place.
Hamburg are reeling after losing their last three games including the 9-2 hammering at Bayern Munich ten days ago before being floored by a 1-0 home defeat at the hands of Freiburg last Saturday.
Germany defender Heiko Westermann has been relieved of the captaincy with the armband handed to ex-Real Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Van der Vaart with Hamburg four points from a Europa League place with six games left.
"I want to make him more responsible, he has to be a role model on the field and a leader," said Fink of Van der Vaart with Hamburg at Mainz 05 on Saturday.
Having read the riot act to his team after a lacklustre performance against Freiburg, Fink said he no longer had the feeling centre-back Westermann, who has been captain since August 2010, can both anchor the defence and lead the team.
"Heiko is a great player and a real pro, but I think he currently can't manage his own performance and still take care of all the other things," said Fink.
"I have the feeling it will help him to be able to concentrate on his performance."
Van der Vaart has captained Hamburg before, from 2006 until 2008, in his first stint at the north German club.