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Leagues: Bundesliga

Wolfsburg take a chance on Ismael

Berlin (AFP) – Bundesliga side Wolfsburg on Tuesday unveiled inexperienced ex-Bayern Munich defender Valerien Ismael as head coach — with a view to making the job permanent if results in Germany’s top flight pick up.

The 41-year-old Frenchman has been promoted from being coach of the Under-23 team to Wolfsburg’s senior side.

He replaces Dieter Hecking, who was sacked on Monday with the team winless in their last six games and sitting 14th in the Bundesliga.

“He is now the head coach,” confirmed Wolfsburg’s sporting director Klaus Allofs, who insisted Ismael was “not an emergency solution”.

“Now he has the chance to prove that to Wolfsburg.”

The main task of the former Lens, Werder Bremen, Bayern and Hanover 96 defender is to coax some form out of the likes of Julian Draxler and Mario Gomez.

Wolfsburg have scored a paltry four goals in seven league games.

Gomez was announced as Wolfsburg’s star signing before the season started, but the Germany striker has yet to hit the net.

“All my energy will go into the success of the club,” said Ismael. “It’s not about me, but the club.”

His first task is get a win on Saturday at strugglers Darmstadt, who are just a place below them in 15th, to give ambitious Wolfsburg their first Bundesliga win since the end of August.

Allofs said results in the coming weeks — and discussions with other potential candidates — will show whether Ismael is finally given the job on a permanent basis.

His only previous experience as head coach was a six-month stint at Nuremberg in 2014 when he was sacked after seven defeats in 14 games.

Following that brief stint, his only other experience was in charge of Wolfsburg’s junior team.

“The next few weeks will show which alternatives there are,” said Allofs.

Other potential candidates are ex-Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea coach Andre Villas-Boas and ex-Schalke boss Andre Breitenreiter.

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