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By ESPN Staff

Finke takes up the reins at Urawa Reds

Former Freiburg boss Volker Finke has expressed confidence in reviving the fortunes of former Asian champions Urawa Reds next season after finalising a deal to become the J.League club's new manager.

The German has inked a two-year deal with the 2007 Asian Champions League winners, which will begin in January.

"I know Reds had a poor finish this season and lacked solidarity as a team. But I am confident of improving them and they have players to achieve that," said Finke in a press conference at Saitama Stadium.

"I'm convinced that the problems they are having will be overcome and that we can make the team stronger by working on bringing up the youngsters."

Urawa began the 2008 season as Asian champions and strong contenders to regain the J.League title they lost in heart-breaking fashion to Kashima Antlers last year after a final day defeat to bottom side Yokohama FC.

But Holger Osieck was dismissed only two games into the season and his successor Gert Engels also had his contract terminated at the end of the campaign after Urawa were beaten in the Champions League semi-finals by Gamba Osaka and finished a disappointing seventh in the J.League.

"It's important to share the football philosophy to play the game, having the same image of the game," said Finke when asked how he intends to improve the team.

"I play combination football and play as a unit with everyone, not relying on two or three players."

Finke was in charge of Freiburg from 1991 to 2007, a period during which the club qualified for the UEFA Cup twice but were also promoted and relegated on three occasions.

The 60-year-old reportedly turned down offers from European clubs to take up the Urawa job.

"They are a special club and that has inspired me so much to work here," he explained.

"I'm looking forward to working with Reds. I'm confident in bringing a title to the club but managers should prove that by producing the results, not by words."

Reds president Mitsunori Fujiguchi was delighted with the appointment.

"Our club would like to make a team who can display strong and attractive football. We believe that Mr Finke can do that, establishing our style of football with high quality and a good foundation."


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