Bundesliga minnows Augsburg have improbably secured their top flight survival, with a game to spare. Yet Dutch coach Jos Luhukay looks set to depart a year ahead of schedule - the club has promised news by Sunday.
Several German media outlets, perhaps most notably mass-circulation tabloid Bild, reported Friday not just that Augsburg coach Jos Luhukay was set to leave his post with a year remaining on his contract, but also that his replacement had already been lined up.
Current coach of third division side Jahn Regensburg, Markus Weinzierl, is reportedly poised to take over a post that has not yet officially been vacated.
Augsburg's management did not comment directly on the rumors at a Friday press conference ahead of their last Bundesliga game of the season, at home against Hamburg, on Saturday - but they also did little to dispel the talk.
"We won't send the players off on their holidays on Sunday with any uncertainties concerning their coach," club manager Andreas Rettig said.
Luhukay, who has improbably steered the Bundesliga's poorest club to safety in a season buoyed by solid home form, is reported to have an excellent working relationship with Rettig. He has apparently found it increasingly difficult to work with club chairman Walther Seinsch, however, who had pledged earlier in the season to stick with his current coach even if Augsburg faced relegation into the second division.
"We are still in negotiations. I hope that a decision will be reached in the very near future," Luhukay told reporters in Augsburg Friday. "I have had no contact at all with other clubs."
Stellar season, all things considered
Luhukay took the reins at Augsburg in April 2009, guiding the club into the top flight of German league football for the first time in its history and since securing that position for at least another 12 months.
His work keeping Augsburg afloat has won him plaudits from giants of the German game like Franz Beckenbauer and national team coach Joachim Löw.
Luhukay's co-trainers at Augsburg Rob Reeker and Markus Gellhaus both have contracts that expire this year which have not as yet been renewed, another apparent sign of the unrest between the coaching and managerial arms of the small Bavarian side.
The coach from the Netherlands has displayed a rather headstrong nature in the past, resigning from his post at SC Paderborn in Germany in August 2006, saying he felt like that club's management had gone over his head.
Luhukay's mooted replacement, Markus Weinzierl, still has some work ahead of him in his current post. Jahn Regensburg have a chance at qualifying for the relegation playoff and making a bid to enter the German second division. Weinzierl has a clause in his contract - which runs until 2014 - to leave the lower league side if he is offered a coaching job in the Bundesliga.
msh/mz (dpa, SID)