March 6, 2019 / 9:03 PM / 3 months ago

Grasshoppers name little-known Stipic as coach in bid to avoid drop

Newly appointed coach Tomislav Stipic of Grasshopper Club Zurich soccer club addresses a news conference in Zurich, Switzerland March 6, 2019. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

ZURICH (Reuters) - Grasshoppers, winners of a record 27 Swiss league titles and ever-present in the top flight since 1951, named little-known Tomislav Stipic as coach on Wednesday in a bid to avoid relegation.

Stipic, born in the former Yugoslavia and raised in Germany, replaced Thorsten Fink who was sacked the previous day by Grasshoppers who are bottom of the table.

The 39-year-old, previously in charge of the under-19 team at Eintracht Frankfurt, has never coached a top flight club and several Swiss newspapers described him as “unknown”.

Stipic coached German second division side Erzgebirge Aue in 2014-15 when they were relegated and the following season led Stuttgarter Kickers in the third tier when his team again suffered relegation.

“I’m still proud of my experience,” he told reporters on his official presentation. “My mission is clear and everything will be directed towards this goal.”

Grasshoppers have 18 points from 23 games, one below Neuchatel Xamax who are in the relegation playoff spot, and eight adrift of Lugano, the lowest team outside the danger zone.

Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Toby Davis

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