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Apr 25, 2014

Leverkusen hire Salzburg boss Schmidt

Sascha Lewandowski held his first news conference as Bayer Leverkusen's interim coach, ahead of Sunday's Bundesliga game against Hertha Berlin.

Bayer Leverkusen have appointed SV Salzburg's Roger Schmidt as their coach for the 2014-15 season, with the club announcing on Friday that the German has signed a contract until 2016.

Sami Hyypia is enduring his most difficult spell yet as Bayer Leverkusen manager.
Hyypia was sacked after a Champions League exit to Real Madrid and poor domestic form.

The Salzburg coach will succeed Sami Hyypia in the Leverkusen dugout after the former Liverpool captain was sacked in early April.

The 2002 Champions League finalists are being coached by Sascha Lewandowski until the end of the season, and are ranked fourth in Bundesliga with three games left to play, which would allow them to play Champions League qualifiers next season.

“[Schmidt] stands for physical, fast and attractive attacking football,” Bayer CEO Michael Schade was quoted on the club's official website.

“We’ve extensively discussed Bayer’s future philosophy, and aim for a long-term partnership with Roger Schmidt.”

Despite having a valid contract at Salzburg until 2016, Schmidt had been courted by both Eintracht Frankfurt and Leverkusen, but the North-Rhine Westphalia-born coach has now opted to take the next step of his career at Leverkusen.

“I am looking forward to my new task at a top club and I am delighted to be able to work in Bundesliga,” Schmidt said.

Schmidt, a former Bundesliga II player at SC Paderborn, kicked off his coaching career at minor league club Delbruecker SC in 2004.

Preussen Muenster and SC Paderborn were next as he worked his way up the ranks, and in 2012 he signed a contract at Austrian powerhouse SV Salzburg and won his first experience in a top division.

The Austrian club made headlines when they beat Ajax 6-1 on aggregate in the Europa League round-of-32. Salzburg, who won the Austrian Bundesliga earlier than Bayern Munich did the German Bundesliga, were eliminated by FC Basel in the next round.

During Schmidt’s tenure at Salzburg, the team has been branded the “most modern team in Europe” by football tactics website Spielverlagerung.de, singling out the side's pressing tactics in a 4-4-2 formation for special praise.

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