Coach Jupp Heynckes will leave Bayer Leverkusen at the end of the season, possibly clearing the way for his reported move to Bayern Munich.
Bayern coach Louis van Gaal is also leaving at the end of the season and Heynckes has been linked with a return to his former club by persistent reports in the German media.
Leverkusen’s new coach will be Robin Dutt, who is now in charge of Freiburg. Dutt will receive a two-year contract, with a one-year extension option, Leverkusen said yesterday.
The 65-year-old Heynckes declined Leverkusen’s offer of a one-year extension on his two-year deal.
“Mr Heynckes informed us that he won’t be available for another year,” Leverkusen managing director Wolfgang Holzhaeuser said.
Leverkusen are second in the Bundesliga and Heynckes is in the unusual situation of trying to secure a direct slot in the Champions League for his current club at the expense of possibly his future one.
Holzhaeuser, however, told reporters he was under the impression Heynckes planned to retire.
“That’s how I interpret it,” Holzhaeuser said.
Bayern are fourth, seven points behind Leverkusen. There are seven matches remaining and Leverkusen play Bayern on April 17.
“Leverkusen is a very well managed club with a great team,” Heynckes said. “It was a very difficult decision for me to make. I’ll do all I can to secure second place and achieve a direct slot in the Champions League.”
Heynckes came out of retirement to coach Bayern for five games after the firing of Juergen Klinsmann before the club hired van Gaal less than two years ago. Heynckes steered Bayern into the Champions League.
That was Heynckes’ second stint at Bayern after a spell from 1987 to 1991 and his short but successful stay earned him a job in Leverkusen.
Heynckes announced his decision one day after Leverkusen beat Schalke 2-0.
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