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May, 16, 2013

Lewandowski ends Hyypia partnership

Bayer Leverkusen head coach Sascha Lewandowski is to step down after the final match of the season, making way for Sami Hyypia to become the club's sole boss.

Lewandowski and Hyypia have been working in partnership since April 2012, first leading the club into the Europa League and then securing third place, and a Champions League spot, in their first full season in charge.

However, there have been reports in the German media of rifts between the pair, and Hyypia told ZDF in March that "the arrangement is not easy for either of us".

Lewandowski, formerly in charge of the Under-19 side, will thus make way after Saturday's game at Hamburg, and become head youth coach with the club.

"I'm happy that I've been able to help over the past 14 months after taking charge of the first team alongside Sami Hyypia in a difficult situation," Lewandowski said. "We now have a functioning team that has great potential and is playing good and successful football.

"It hasn't been an easy decision as I have to give up the excellent collaboration with the players and the prospect of a great challenge in the Champions League. On the other hand, I'm very much looking forward to my new job."

Bayer sporting director Rudi Voller praised Lewandowski for his work in securing third place in the Bundesliga but said the 41-year-old had long been keen to leave his current role.

"Sascha has worked with Sami Hyypia to get the team to a higher level," he said. "We have performed brilliantly to overcome strong competition like Schalke 04. That can't be underestimated at all. At the same time, we had to persuade Sascha to join the first-team squad before the start of the season."

Outgoing Leverkusen CEO Wolfgang Holzhauser added: "After careful consideration, we came to the conclusion that he feels more at home with youth football."

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