The Bundesliga's coaching carousel continued to rotate, as Leverkusen confirmed the departure of Jupp Heynckes in summer. Freiburg's Robin Dutt has already signed on as his replacement.
No one knows when Heynckes will announce his next move
Monday's announcement by Leverkusen that Jupp Heynckes will leave the team at the end of the season frees him up to move to Bayern Munich, where he is reportedly the only candidate to replace lame-duck coach Louis van Gaal.
Heynckes is expected to sign a two-year contract with the Bavarians. In a statement, the coach said that he had not signed any agreement with Bayern and that he was leaving his current club with a heavy heart.
"Leverkusen is a well managed club with a great team and it was difficult taking this decision," Heynckes said. "I will do everything so that we finish second in the league and qualify directly for the Champions League."
It will be the 65-year-old veteran's third stint in charge of Bayern. He coached the club between 1987 and 1991, winning two Bundesliga titles.
He also took over on an interim basis from Jürgen Klinsmann in April and May 2009, salvaging a disappointing season by helping Munich qualify for the Champions League.
Bayern are currently fourth in the league, and Henyckes will have to hope Bayern do enough in the coming weeks to book a place for him in club football's premier competition next season.
Leverkusen, meanwhile, are second in the table and wasted no time in appointing a successor.
Big leap for Dutt
Dutt has been very successful at Freiburg
The man who will lead Leverkusen into the next Bundesliga campaign and, in all likelihood, the Champions League is 46-year-old Robin Dutt, currently at Freiburg.
"Robin Dutt was always going to be our first choice to succeed Heynckes whether in 2011 or 2012," said Leverkusen sports director Rudi Voeller in confirming his appointment.
For his part, Dutt seemed to realize that his new job was the chance of his career thus far.
“I'm very excited about the challenge in Leverkusen and working with a team that has been excellently coached by Jupp Heynckes,“ Dutt said in a statement. “The footballing philosophy that came through in my talks with [Leverkusen president] Wolfgang Holzhäuser and Rudi Völler mirrors how I see the game."
Dutt has been in charge of Freiburg since 2007. In 2009, he engineered the medium-sized southern German club's promotion from division two to the top flight.
Leverkusen will reportedly be paying Freiburg one million euros in compensation for releasing Dutt from his contract. Dutt's new contract with Leverkusen runs until 2013.
Marcus Sorg, currently coach of Freiburg's developmental squad, will take over the top job there.
Author: Jefferson Chase (dpa, AFP)
Editor: Michael Lawton