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May, 5, 2009

Hoffenheim coach to stay after clear-the-air talks

Hoffenheim owner Dietmar Hopp this afternoon emerged satisfied from a clear-the-air meeting with Ralf Rangnick after the coach had threatened to walk out on the club.

Rangnick had spoken of his unwillingness to remain in charge of an "average'' club and suggested that large sums of money would have to be spent this summer, or he would seek a new challenge.

Hopp invited Rangnick for a meeting, with director of sport Jan Schindelmeiser and general manager Jochen A Rotthaus also present, and their differences were resolved satisfactorily according to the multi-millionaire club owner.

"I am delighted that the atmospheric disturbances have been dealt with thoroughly and that we can continue working together with the utmost trust,'' said Hopp on the club's website.

"Ralf Rangnick is for me the ideal coach for Hoffenheim and not even the last few days have been able to change that in the slightest.''

Hoffenheim led the Bundesliga at the midway stage of the season and appeared on course for a phenomenal title tilt at the first time of asking.

However, their fortunes have dipped dramatically in 2009 with just one win in 13 matches and now they can no longer qualify for Europe next season, which was one of the reasons Rangnick lost his patience following the 4-0 defeat to Wolfsburg at the weekend.

But he claims his remarks were misinterpreted and insists he did not seriously want to throw in the towel.

"I am unreservedly committed to my tasks at 1899 Hoffenheim,'' he said. "I regret the way things have developed in the media over the last few days.

"The misunderstandings which have emerged have been completely dealt with.''

Despite the recent turbulence, Hoffenheim remain on course to end their first ever season in the top flight of German football inside the top 10 while their minimum aim of avoiding relegation has been achieved comfortably.

And, according to Schindelmeiser, Rangnick's request for further investment in players will be accommodated in the summer.

"We plan to strengthen the team with new signings while a few contracts are running out as well,'' he earlier told the Welt newspaper.

"We will have to see how many new players actually arrive. We have set a budget which corresponds to the economic capability of the club and there is a place for new players in that.

"It is around 10 million euros, which I think is a lot of money.

"Should we have the chance to sign an interesting player, then there could be a slight increase to this sum.''

Hoffenheim spent record sums of money while in the second tier last year, but have yet to splash the cash since joining the Bundesliga.

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