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Sports

German football's coaching carousel keeps on spinning

Soccer coach Frank Schäfer has announced he will step down from his post at Cologne at the end of the season, while Hoffenheim have just found a new man to take over at the helm next year.

A carousel

One man left, another one joined the merry-go-round

German Bundesliga club Cologne announced on Tuesday that coach Frank Schäfer will be stepping down by the end of the season.

Citing "personal reasons" at a press conference, Schäfer said that "after thorough consideration, I have decided to no longer be available for that job."

The tensions between coach and club had come to a head in recent weeks when members of the board publicly speculated whether Schäfer's religious belief as an actively practicing Christian was somehow getting in the way of doing his job as a football coach.

The 47-year old was increasingly frustrated with being at the focus of media speculations and with more and more private information leaking out to the public.

Losing 'the best man for Cologne'

Before making up his mind to leave, Schäfer had been in charge of the first team with the club for about six months. He took over in late October 2010 when former coach Zvonomir Soldo was sacked and the side was reeling towards relegation. Since then, Schäfer seemed to be doing a good job, getting his side at least out of the immediate danger zone.

Frank Schäfer

Schäfer cited personal reasons for his decision

Yet although currently 12th in the standings, the team is still not yet assured of first division status for next season, as they are just six points above a relegation place.

Before being promoted to coach the senior team in October, Schäfer had been in charge of the junior U23 side. After the end of the season, Schäfer said he plans to remain with the club, possibly going back to his old position of coaching the youth team.

Cologne officials said they were surprised by Schäfer's decision to quit and admitted to having no plan B ready for next season.

Club President Wolfgang Overath said they had "tried everything to convince Schäfer to stay because he was the best man for Cologne."

Stanislawski to Hoffenheim

While Cologne will now have to start looking for a new coach, Bundesliga team Hoffenheim on Tuesday found a new man to take over beginning next season.

Holger Stanislawski, who spent more than 14 seasons at St Pauli as a player, sporting director and coach, will take over head coaching duties at Hoffenheim next season, replacing outgoing coach Marco Pezzaiuoli.

"Of course it'll be sad to part ways with St Pauli," he said. "But I do think it's time for me to take on a new challenge. The talks with Hoffenheim have convinced me and made me really look forward to the next season with a new club."

Author: Andreas Illmer (dpa, SID)
Editor: Matt Hermann

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