TEL AVIV, April 13 (Reuters) - Germany's former World Cup winning captain Lothar Matthaeus said on Sunday he is moving to Israel after landing a two-year contract to coach Maccabi Netanya.
The club, currently second in the Israeli Premier League, confirmed on its website that its German-born owner Daniel Jammer had agreed at a meeting in Germany on Friday that the 47-year-old former midfielder would take up his post in June.
'I'm so happy to come to a wonderful country like Israel,' the club Web site quoted Mattheus as saying. He was quoted by Germany's Bild newspaper saying he had a two-year contract.
Israeli-German relations are laden with the emotional heritage of the Holocaust and Jammer described attracting the highest-profile German ever associated with Israeli soccer as 'the greatest gift I can offer Israel'.
Netanya were one of Israel's top sides in the 1970s and early 1980s when they were led by Mordechai Spiegler, a club icon considered Israel's greatest player and the scorer of their only goal in a World Cup finals, in Mexico in 1970.
Since buying the club three seasons ago, Jammer has invested judiciously but has managed to improve results. Netanya finished as league runners up last season behind Beitar Jerusalem and could repeat the feat, behind Beitar again, this season.
Matthaeus captained West Germany to the World Cup triumph in 1990 and won a record 150 caps before retiring eight years ago.
He has had a less successful career as coach with mixed results at Rapid Vienna, Partizan Belgrade, the Hungarian national team, Brazilian side Atletico Parananense and most recently at Austria's FC Salzburg.