Bundesliga club Hannover 96 have hired 39-year-old Tayfun Korkut as their new coach, days after dismissing Mirko Slomka. The former international takes over the team with the worst away record in Germany.
Hannover announced an under-the-radar coaching acquisition on Tuesday, ignoring some of the higher-profile Bundesliga coaches on the market and appointing Tayfun Korkut as Mirko Slomka's successor.
Korkut, most recently the assistant coach for the Turkish national team under Abdullah Avci, will take up his first post as a head coach of a senior side at just 39.
"This appointment is a conscious decision for the future of Hannover 96," sporting director Dirk Dufner said. "With Tayfun Korkut, we have decided in favor of a young, fully-qualified and highly motivated coach, who completely convinced us with his personality and his qualifications."
Korkut, who was due to make a public appearance on Friday ahead of his first training session with the club at the weekend, said he was itching to get to work.
"I emphatically thank Hannover 96 for this display of faith in me. My talks with Dirk Dufner were very open. A challenging, but also fascinating task lies ahead of us," the Stuttgart-born Korkut, a midfielder in his playing days, said.
The German-Turkish coach never graduated to the Bundesliga in his playing career, moving straight from the lower-league Stuttgart Kickers to Fenerbahce Istanbul in Turkey in 1995. There, he blossomed into a midfield regular and later a Turkish international, representing his country in the Euro 96 and 2000 competitions. He claimed 42 senior caps and one goal for Turkey in his career.
Korkut signed a contract with the club in Lower Saxony until the summer of 2016.
German-born, with international CV
Korkut also played in Spain with Real Sociedad and Espanyol Barcelona; he speaks fluent German, Turkish, Spanish and English. Prior to his Turkish deputy coach role, he spent time in charge of the youth teams of Real Sociedad, Hoffenheim and Stuttgart.
The 39-year-old becomes just the second Bundesliga head coach with Turkish roots, after Hamburg's goalie-turned-trainer Özcan Arkoc in the 1970s.
Korkut's most pressing task will be to score some points on the road for Hannover – the club has lost all eight games away from home in the Bundesliga this season. Despite the sixth-best home record in the Bundesliga, this abject away form puts the northern Germans 13th in the table.
Hannover are just four points clear of 16th position, which threatens relegation from the top flight, and are 13 points adrift of a position that would qualify them for continental competition – the club's stated pre-season target.
Slomka was removed from his post on December 27, after almost four years in charge; the two parties agreed not to disclose terms of separation on his contract through 2016.
msh/kms (dpa, SID)