Mainz coach Thomas Tuchel has ruled himself out of the running for the Bayer Leverkusen job.
Leverkusen dismissed Sami Hyypia at the weekend following an alarming drop in form that left the club struggling to return to next season’s Champions League.
Sascha Lewandowski, who had previously shared management duties with Hyypia before returning to a youth-team role, has stepped into the breach for the remainder of the season but speculation persists over his permanent successor.
German tabloid Express reported on Thursday that Tuchel, 40, had attracted the attention of the club’s hierarchy as he could offer “fresh, attractive and modern football.”
However, Mainz sporting director Christian Heidel told Express that Tuchel -- who is under contract until 2015 -- would not be allowed to leave in the summer.
“Leverkusen can offer millions -- they can turn up here with cheques and suitcases full of money -- but they will definitely not get Tuchel,” Heidel had said. “They can do whatever they want. I know they want our coach but, whatever happens, Tuchel will 100 percent remain the Mainz coach.”
Tuchel then told a news conference that there was no possibility that he would replace Hyypia this summer.
“It’s not the first time that I have been linked to another club,” Tuchel said, referring to the Schalke link last season. “I will not give you any headlines or room for comment. I will definitely not be the Leverkusen coach this summer -- fact.”
However, Tuchel, who has collected an impressive 230 points in 165 Bundesliga games since January 2010, refused to specifically commit his future to Mainz, saying only that “our work here” speaks for itself.