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Wolfsburg part company with coach who saved them from relegation
September 18, 2017 / 10:14 AM / 3 months ago

Wolfsburg part company with coach who saved them from relegation

BERLIN (Reuters) - VfL Wolfsburg parted company with coach Andries Jonker on Monday, less than four months after he helped save the Bundesliga club from relegation, and named Martin Schmidt as his replacement.

Soccer Football - Bundesliga - VfL Wolfsburg v Hanover 96 - Wolfsburg, Germany - September 9, 2017 Wolfsburg coach Andries Jonker REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

Jonker, appointed at the end of February, took charge of 19 competitive games including the two-legged relegation playoff against Eintracht Braunschweig in May which Wolfsburg won 2-0 on aggregate to secure their top-flight status.

Jonker’s overall record was eight wins, four draws and seven defeats.

The Wolves, beaten 1-0 by promoted VfB Stuttgart on Saturday, have made an indifferent start to the new season, lying 14th in the table with four points from as many games.

The club said in a statement that the two parties had gone “separate ways” and that Jonker was “no longer head coach.”

“The decision to change coach so early in the season was not taken lightly,” said general manager Tim Schumacher. “We were finally convinced by our internal advisers that we must undertake this task with a new coaching staff.”

Wolfgang Hotze, spokesman for the board of directors, said the decision was not just based on the Stuttgart match but “on the noticeable stagnation in the development of our... team in recent weeks.”

There was no immediate comment from the 54-year-old Jonker.

Schmidt was previously in charge of Mainz 05 for 2-1/2 seasons. The 50-year-old Swiss left his post in May after Mainz escaped the relegation playoff on goal difference.

“Schmidt is the right man for the task which lies ahead of us,” said Schumacher.

Schmidt added: “I didn’t have to think very much before taking this job. It was only a few hours from the first contact until the signature.”

Jonker, the first coaching casualty of the Bundesliga season, said after Saturday’s game that his team played well in the first half but the forwards lost possession too often.

Jonker’s contract was due to run until the end of the season and he became the third coach to part company with Wolfsburg in less than one year following the sacking of Dieter Hecking last October and Valerien Israel in February.

Writing by Brian Homewood in Berne; Editing by Sudipto Ganguly and Ken Ferris

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