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Balakov takes Kaiserslautern role

Kaiserslautern have confirmed former Stuttgart midfielder Krassimir Balakov as their new coach.

Balakov, 45, has left his job in charge at Croatian side Hajduk Split to sign a contract with the Bundesliga strugglers until June 2013.

The Bulgarian, who made more than 200 league appearances for Stuttgart between 1995 and 2003 and won 92 caps for Bulgaria, replaces Marco Kurz, who was sacked earlier this week.

Balakov told the club's official website: ''I have accepted Kaiserslautern's offer because I believe we can pull ourselves out of trouble and avoid relegation. As I player I often used to run out at the Betzenberg and I know the imposing atmosphere and the passionate fans.

''The Red Devils are a household name in Europe and I can hardly wait to start work. This job should be with a view to the long term so that Kaiserslautern can get back on a healthy footing and again be an integral part of the Bundesliga.''

Kaiserslautern chairman Stefan Kuntz said: ''Krassimir Balakov has huge experience, knows the Bundesliga inside and out and has proved that he can work successfully with young players.

''We are convinced that he can be decisive for us in the fight for survival and can help us beyond that. Even in the case of relegation, he would be here to help us achieve the goal of immediate promotion.''

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