The coaching upheaval continues in the Bundesliga, with Hoffenheim signing their new man and Cologne needing a replacement at season’s end.
Relegation-threatened St Pauli will lose head coach Holger Stanislawski to Hoffenheim after the 41-year-old signed a three-year contract on Tuesday, while Cologne must search for a replacement for Frank Schaefer.
Stanislawski announced an end to his an 18-year association with the Hamburg-based club last Wednesday, with the former defender having engineered the club’s return to the German top-flight last campaign after a nine-season absence.
But St Pauli appear destined to return back to 2. Bundesliga at the first time of asking, with Stanislawski’s side sitting in 17th and four points adrift of safety with four games remaining.
Regardless of St Pauli’s fate, however, Stanislawski will be managing in the top flight next season after agreeing a deal to replace Marco Pezzaiuoli at Hoffenheim.
Pezzaiuoli only replaced Ralf Rangnick in January after the latter’s resignation, but could muster just four wins in 13 games as the club slipped out of the European places.
“Holger Stanislawski is without a doubt one of the exceptional coaching personalities in the Bundesliga. He has shown his coaching qualities with the rise of St Pauli to the Bundesliga,” Hoffenheim general manager Ernst Tanner said.
“He also knows how to develop young talent and with his pleasant, yet straightforward, manner he enjoys a great rapport with fans, players and staff.”
“After almost 20 years at St Pauli he now seeks a new challenge and we are delighted that he has chosen Hoffenheim. ”
Stanislawski said: “Of course it is difficult after such a long time to leave Hamburg. I still think that it is time for me to address a new and exciting challenge.”
“The talks with leaders in Hoffenheim have absolutely convinced me. I look forward to the new environment and the upcoming season with Hoffenheim. Nevertheless, I am fully focused on the season’s run-in and the league with St Pauli before I approach my new job.”
League rivals Cologne are also dealing with their own coaching change, with Schaefer revealing on Tuesday he would be relinquishing the manager’s role at the club for ‘personal reason’.
Schaefer has only been at the helm since October, but had guided the club away from the relegation places after the sacking of Zvonimir Soldo.
Cologne sit in 12th and have a six-point buffer on the drop zone, and had offered Schaefer a new two-year deal to remain in the role.
Instead, he will return to coaching the club’s reserve team next season.
“The team will now be able to concentrate fully on the aim of avoiding relegation,” Schaefer said.
Cologne president Wolfgang Overath said: “We had tried everything to keep him. We fully respect his decision.”
The announcements are just the latest in a raft of coaching changes in the Bundesliga season, with Louis van Gaal (Bayern Munich), Steve McLaren (Wolfsburg), Armin Veh (Hamburg), Christian Gross and Jens Keller (both Stuttgart) among those to be sacked.
Felix Magath was dismissed by Schalke in March but has returned to Wolfsburg, with Rangnick replacing him for a second spell at the Champions League semi-finalists.
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