Salzburg coach Schmidt handed Bayer Leverkusen role for next season
Bayer Leverkusen have confirmed the appointment of Roger Schmidt as their new coach from next season.
On the eve of an important Bundesliga clash against Borussia Dortmund, which will go some way to determining whether Schmidt will be coaching in the Champions League next season, the Westphalian club confirmed the arrival of the current Red Bull Salzburg coach.
"Among numerous alternatives, we have consciously chosen Roger Schmidt as the new coach of Bayer Leverkusen," said the club’s general manager Michael Schade in a statement on Friday.
"His values are a combative, quick and attractive attacking football and we have discussed the philosophy of the future of Bayer Leverkusen at length with him, and we are hoping for a long-term collaboration with Roger Schmidt in which we will be able to recognise his signature on this side."
Schmidt led Salzburg to second place in the Austrian Bundesliga last season, clinching the title in record-breaking fashion this season while reaching the last 16 of the Europa League, having eliminated Ajax from the competition.
He is now looking forward to taking the next step in his coaching career.
"I’m looking forward to the challenge of coaching a big club," he said. "I’m also delighted to be able to work in the Bundesliga."
Schmidt will be officially presented as Leverkusen coach at the start of pre-season training on July 1, by when he will know if his first task will be a Champions League play-off.
Leverkusen currently lie fourth with only a single-point advantage over Wolfsburg in fifth, and caretaker coach Sascha Lewandowski, who has won his first two games in charge since replacing Sami Hyypia, now has three games to ensure their place in Europe’s elite club competition.
Dortmund are already certain of their place in the big time while their attention will now slowly turn towards the DFB-Pokal final against Bayern Munich next month – their only chance of silverware this season.
Coach Jurgen Klopp is therefore set to make a few changes for Saturday’s clash with Sebastian Kehl and Erik Durm injured, but Roman Weidenfeller set to return in goal.