Bayern Munich have appointed Louis van Gaal as their new coach after he was released from his contract with newly-crowned Dutch champions AZ Alkmaar, the Bundesliga club confirmed tonight.
Van Gaal was given the green light to join the Bavarian side after a meeting between Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, general manager Uli Hoeness and AZ president Dirk Scheringa, general manager Toon Gerbrands and director of sport Marcel Brands in Alkmaar today.
The two clubs reached an amicable agreement without any conditions for Van Gaal to leave AZ one year before his contract was due to expire, according to a press release from Bayern.
Bayern have agreed to travel to Alkmaar for a friendly match free of charge to thank the Dutch club for accommodating their wishes in appointing Van Gaal, who had been their number one target since Jurgen Klinsmann was sacked last month.
Van Gaal has signed a two-year contract with Bayern and will assume his responsibilities on July 1, exactly one year after Klinsmann's ill-fated reign commenced.
``We are delighted to have been able to gain an experienced and successful coach for FC Bayern Munich,'' said Rummenigge.
After taking a gamble on the inexperienced Klinsmann last year, the record German champions have opted for a more seasoned coach with the much-travelled 57-year-old fresh from his Eredivisie triumph.
Van Gaal famously led Ajax to the Champions League trophy in 1995 while he won the Spanish Primera Division twice with Barcelona and also has four Dutch titles to his name.
The expectations at Bayern will be equally high with success in Europe the priority next season.
Klinsmann ultimately paid the price for an embarrassing 4-0 defeat at Barcelona in the quarter-final of the Champions League this season, while he was never able to take Bayern to the summit of the Bundesliga during his 10 months in charge.
With two games remaining, Bayern are second in the table although they have won their last three matches under caretaker coach Jupp Heynckes and are in the thick of the battle for the title in what promises to be a close finish to the campaign.
Heynckes, who made it clear when he arrived he was only taking charge as a favour to his friend Hoeness, now knows for certain his employment will end on May 23 when Bayern host Stuttgart in their final Bundesliga fixture of the season.