Bayer Leverkusen announced that the management duo of Sami Hyypiä and Sascha Lewandowski will stay on to guide the club from the sidelines next season. Meanwhile, Shinji Kagawa, who ended any speculation that he would remain at Borussia Dortmund, has had a meeting with Sir Alex Ferguson as rumors that he will be headed to Manchester United intensify. His fellow Japanese international, attacking midfielder Hiroshi Kiyotake, is headed to Nürnberg while Bayern München have acquired an experienced goalkeeper to backup Manuel Neuer and FC Augsburg has obtained attacking help for their second season in the top-tier of German football.
Hyypia and Lewandowski Remain in Charge at Leverkusen
Sami Hyypiä and Sascha Lewandowski took over as co-managers late last season after Robin Dutt was dismissed and a promising season at Bayer Leverkusen looked to go unrewarded. But the two righted a reeling Leverkusen ship, as the club captured 14 of a possible 18 points to finish in the fifth berth in the table, guaranteeing Europa League football for the next season. For their efforts, Hyypiä and Lewandowski will continue to stay in charge at Leverkusen, each receiving a three-year contract.
“Sascha Lewandowski and Sami Hyypiä proved in their six games this season that they could lead this team with a blend of competence, charisma, hard work and relaxation,” said Leverkusen’s general manager Wolfgang Holzhauser. “This refreshing combination gives us reason to look into the future optimistically. With the duo of Lewandowski ad Hyypia, we want to further cement our place in the top third of the Bundesliga with the aim of qualifying for European competition.”
Hyypiä, 38, played a decade at Liverpool and represented his native Finland on more than 100 occasions. The former defender played the last two seasons of his career with Die Werkself, appearing in 53 league matches. Not only does he provide international experience while he works on obtaining his coaching licenses, but Hyypiä has featured over 110 times in European competition, most of which while he was at Liverpool. Lewandowski, 40, began his coaching career in 2003, working with the youth teams at VfL Bochum. The German-born coach came to Leverkusen in 2007 and worked with the U-19 squad before being appointed interim co-head coach with Hyypia in April.
The duo did not know each other before being paired together to try to salvage Leverkusen’s season. “Sami and I took over responsibility during a difficult time for the club and we got on well together very quickly. The commitment, passion, and desire of the team helped to motivate us further. We were able to work together in an atmosphere of trust, which bore fruit. I’m looking forward to intensifying our collaboration,” said Lewandowski. The two have already demonstrated their ability to work together and will look ahead to having a full training camp to prepare their club for the 2012/2013 season.
Shinji Kagawa Meets with SAF
Dortmund star Shinji Kagawa, who will be leaving BvB after not extending his contract, met with Manchester United’s iconic coach Sir Alex Ferguson after the conclusion of the DFB Pokal.
“It was good that I was able to meet him in person and talk,” Kagawa said. “I want to think hard before making my decision. I want a team where I can take on challenges.” David Gill, Manchester United Chief Executive, would not comment on Kagawa’s possible signing by the Red Devils on Tuesday.
Hiroshi Kiyotake Coming to Nürnberg
While Kagawa intends to leave the Bundesliga, another of his countrymen is heading to Germany. Japanese international Hiroshi Kiyotake, a 22 year old magazine, will join Nürnberg on a three-year contract with a transfer fee of 1.2 million euros. According to Japanese publication Nikkan Kiyotake will continue playing for his J-League club, Cerezo Osaka, through their June 30 season final before heading to Germany.
Kiyotake, 5’8,” has featured in 122 matches in Japan, scoring 24 times since he began his career Oita Trinita in 2008. Kiyotake was named to the 2011 J League Best Eleven, and has featured three times for the senior Japanese national team following ten appearances for the Japanese U-20 and U-23 squads.
Tom Starke to Bayern München, Musona to Augsburg
Hoffenheim goalkeeper Tom Starke, the club’s #1 goalkeeper the last two seasons, will be the backup goalkeeper for Bayern München as he signed with the Bavarians on a free transfer. Starke comes to Bayern München on a free transfer and replaces retired goalkeeper Hans-Jörg Butt, who remains with the club as a youth coach.
Starke, 31, had started 36 league matches for Hoffenheim since arriving at the club in 2010. The 6’4″ native of Dresden has made 91 Bundesliga appearances and started 33 of Hoffenheim’s 34 league matches in 2011/2012 , making 110 saves 21 of them rated as “vital” on bundesliga de. Starke also kept eight clean sheets for Hoffenheim this past season.
Knowledge Musona, Hoffenheim’s 21 year-old striker, will play on loan for FC Augsburg in the upcoming season. Musona began his professional career with the Kaizer Chiefs before being signed by Hoffenheim last summer. Musona was used sparingly in Hoffenheim, appearing 16 times with two starts for a total of 373 Bundesliga playing minutes. The 5’8″ native of Zimbabwe has appeared in nine matches for his homeland’s national team, and scored five goals in qualification matches for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations.
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