Bayern extends coach Louis van Gaal’s contract

Bayern Munich coach Louis van Gaal signed a one-year contract extension on Monday in a sign of the club’s confidence in the Dutchman following a poor start to the German champions’ title defense.

Van Gaal joined Bayern last season and led the team to the Bundesliga and German Cup double, as well as the Champions League final.

Bayern said Van Gaal signed the extension, which will keep him at the club through to June 2012, after the squad arrived in Switzerland for Tuesday’s Champions League match against FC Basel.

The extension offers Van Gaal support after a stumbling start that has left Bayern ninth in the Bundesliga, with eight points from six matches. On Saturday, Bayern lost 2-1 at home to surprise leader Mainz, which is 10 points ahead of the defending champions.

"I always prefer to do things that people perhaps don’t expect," Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said.

"Anyone can extend contracts after a victory. So it is a very good public signal that now, after the defeat against Mainz, we continue to appreciate the value of the coach."

Bayern said a one-year extension was what Van Gaal wanted.

"He does a super job, day in, day out," Rummenigge said. "And we rewarded that with the contract extension."

Bayern vice captain Philipp Lahm said the players were pleased with the move.

"We have seen how meticulously the coach works and what progress we have made," the Germany defender said.

Bayern’s wobbly start came after the club decided against reinforcing its squad during the offseason transfer window. It has since lost several prominent players to injury.

In its latest setback, the club will be without defender Diego Contento for up to six weeks following a groin operation at the weekend.

The team’s two star wingers were already out injured – France’s Franck Ribery faces a several weeks off and the Netherlands’ Arjen Robben is unlikely to play before the winter break.

Rummenigge said he is content with the decision not to buy new players.

"We made that decision with the coach, and we stand by it," Rummenigge was quoted as saying in an interview with the daily Bild published Monday.

"Robben and Ribery can’t be replaced with players of equal value," he said, adding that "our (German) national team players must step up."