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By ESPN Staff
Jan 2, 2011

Rangnick quits Hoffenheim

Marco Pezzaiuoli has been placed in charge of Bundesliga side Hoffenheim after Ralf Rangnick left the club "by mutual consent".

Hoffenheim announced the change at a press conference on Sunday. Rangnick, 52, has decided to leave after over four years in charge of the club after learning they had sold Luiz Gustavo to Bayern Munich - a decision he did not agree with.

The former Schalke and Hannover coach made it clear before the winter break such a transfer would be "the wrong sign" and he would not accept it, but the club's owner, Dietmar Hopp, and general manager, Ernst Tanner, went ahead and sanctioned the transfer behind his back.

Rangnick therefore tendered his resignation and this was accepted by the club, who have promoted his assistant to the head coach position.

"He already knows the team and that is a huge advantage," Hopp told the Mannheimer Morgen newspaper. "I am confident that we will not slide into danger."

Rangnick took over as coach of Hoffenheim in July 2006 when they were in the third division. He led them to promotion that year and took them straight through the second division into the top flight at the first time of asking in 2008.

Hoffenheim's first six months in the Bundesliga were a fairytale, with the club ending the calendar year at the top of the table with 35 points from 17 games, but a slump in the second half of the season saw them end the campaign in seventh position.

The club consolidated last season with an 11th-place finish and they ended 2010 in eighth position, just four points adrift of fifth-placed Bayern Munich and their goal of a place in Europe next season.

However, the sale of Luiz Gustavo has, in Rangnick's opinion, jeopardised the chances of qualifying for Europe and convinced him his term in charge was over.

He is the fourth managerial casualty in the Bundesliga this season after Zvonimir Soldo was sacked as coach of Cologne and both Christian Gross and Jens Keller were fired by Stuttgart.

His replacement, Pezzaiuoli, joined Hoffenheim in the summer after having worked with the German Football Association as a youth team coach, leading the Under-17s to European Championship glory in 2009.

The 42-year-old will lead the team at an indoor football tournament in Mannheim on Sunday before jetting out to La Manga with the squad on Monday to prepare for the second half of the Bundesliga season.

Young full-back David Alaba should also be joining Pezzaiuoli and his squad in Spain after he was inserted in the deal which saw Luiz Gustavo move to Bayern. The 18-year-old will join Hoffenheim on loan until the end of the season.

"He is a great talent, but the problem is he does not get enough match practice at Bayern Munich," Bayern coach Louis van Gaal told his club's website. "That is not good for a great talent - he has got to play."

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