Bundesliga

Werder Bremen ends Schaaf reign

Thomas Schaaf applauds the Bremen fans at the end of the 1-1 draw with Frankfurt.
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Head coach Thomas Schaaf has parted company with Werder Bremen after 14 years at the helm.

Schaaf has spent his entire footballing career at the Weserstadion, overseeing some of their greatest successes as both a player and coach.

However, Werder have stagnated in the last couple of years under the 52-year-old and they will finish a disappointing 14th in the Bundesliga this season, irrespective of the outcome of Saturday's final round of fixtures.

"We have analysed, as announced in recent days, our sports development and have come to the conclusion that we want a fresh start," general manager Thomas Eichin told the club's official website.

"We thank Thomas for everything he brought to Werder Bremen in more than 40 years of belonging to the club as a player and coach. The club celebrated excellent sporting success with him and he characterised Werder."

Schaaf first joined the north west club in 1972, when he was just 11 years old, as part of their youth academy before turning professional six years later.

The former defender would go on to make nearly 300 appearances for Werder, with whom he won the Bundesliga title twice, the DFB-Pokal three times as well as the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup in the 1991-92 season.

He started his coaching career while still carrying out his duties as a player, taking charge of Werder's youth teams. Schaaf was then given the top job on May 9 1999, succeeding Felix Magath, and guided them to a league and cup double five years later.

Before Wednesday's announcement, he was the longest-serving manager in the Bundesliga but has endured a frustrating time recently, with Werder currently in the midst of a 12-game winless run.

They were in danger of being sucked into a relegation battle on the final day of the season but a 1-1 draw with Eintracht Frankfurt last time out has ensured they retained their top-flight status.

"I had an extraordinary time here, connected with a lot of positive experiences and great successes. I would like to thank everyone who accompanied me along the way and supported me. I wish Werder Bremen a successful future," Schaaf said.

Assistant coaches Wolfgang Rolff and Matthias Honerbach will take charge of Werder for their final game of the season at Nurnberg this weekend.

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