Soccer

Nuremberg appoints Gertjan Verbeek as coach

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NUREMBERG, Germany (AP)

Nuremberg appointed Gertjan Verbeek as coach on Tuesday after a two-week search for a successor to the fired Michael Wiesinger.

The 51-year-old Dutchman signed a deal through June 2015 with the Bundesliga club.

''The whole set-up is super and I'm very happy to be here,'' Verbeek said in German. ''I will do my best to speak German as well as possible as quickly as possible.''

Verbeek said he first had contact with the club 10 days ago, a few days after Wiesinger and assistant Armin Reutershahn were fired following a 5-0 home loss to Hamburger SV.

Wiesinger and Reutershahn did well initially after taking over when Dieter Hecking left for league rival Wolfsburg last December, but Nuremberg is now languishing in the relegation zone, one of two sides yet to win in nine Bundesliga games this season.

The club was also knocked out in the first round of the German Cup by second-division side Sandhausen.

''The aim for the season is to stay away from the bottom part of the table,'' said Verbeek, who will be assisted by 48-year-old Raymond Libregts. ''Of course I have my own ideas. But it always depends on the quality of the players. I have to get to know the team.''

Interim coach Roger Prinzen, who led the side to a 1-1 draw at Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday, is returning to Nuremberg's under-23 side.

Verbeek previously coached AZ Alkmaar for three years, leading the Dutch side to Europa League qualification in each season despite operating under financial constraints. He was fired in September after a win over league leader PSV Eindhoven, with reports suggesting his relationship with the team had broken down.

He was previously fired by Feyenoord in similar circumstances.

Nuremberg sports director Martin Bader said there had been no front-runner for the job and that he had conducted extensive interviews to find the best candidate.

''(Verbeek) is keen on the task and is coming with real heart and fire. You could feel that from the first minute,'' Bader said. ''There are countless things in his favor.''

Verbeek, the third Dutch coach in the Bundesliga after Bert van Marwijk at Hamburg and Jos Luhukay at Hertha Berlin, will take charge of his first game on Friday when Nuremberg visits Stuttgart.

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