Carnival cities Cologne and Mainz will be hoping to get their Bundesliga parties back on track after appointing Markus Gisdol and Achim Beierlorzer as their new head coaches.
Nine days after relieving Beierlorzer of his duties, Cologne have brought in ex-Hoffenheim and Hamburg boss Gisdol as his replacement. The Billy Goats have also recruited former player Horst Heldt as their new sporting director as they look to improve on a run of just two wins in the first 11 league games of the 2019/20 season.
"Cologne are a top club in German football," Gisdol said. "The current situation isn't easy, but I know these challenges and I'm totally convinced that we can overcome them. I want to help the team start living up to its obvious potential as quickly as possible."
Gisdol, who helped Hamburg avoid the drop in 2016/17, has signed a contract through to 30 June 2021, although it is only effective in the Bundesliga. Heldt, who was VfB Stuttgart sporting director when they won the title in 2006/07, is also tied to the club until June 2021. Born in nearby Königswinter, he began his professional career with the Billy Goats and is delighted to be returning to his roots.
"This isn't just any old job for me," Heldt enthused. "I'm returning to the club where I began my playing career, where I have a lot of great memories. The situation isn't easy, but it also isn't as bad as some people are suggesting. The club is professionally structured and has huge potential. I'll do everything to make sure Cologne achieves its goals and I'm really looking forward to the challenge."
Beierlorzer, meanwhile, barely had time to pack up his belongings before returning to Bundesliga employment during the international break. The 51-year-old has replaced Sandro Schwarz at Mainz, signing a contract through to the summer of 2022.
"It's funny how football can work out," Beierlorzer acknowledged. "A week ago I was still at Cologne, and now I'm head coach here at Mainz. Things can happen quickly in this business. Mainz is a special club with a great history and a very clear football philosophy. We want to play a fast game with lots of running and a lot of passion, that's how we want to entertain our fans. I'm looking forward to getting to know my team and I'm excited to become a part of the Mainz family."
The 05ers have fared little better than Cologne this term, although they are one place and two points better off in the table. The recent 8-0 defeat at RB Leipzig was the heaviest in the club's 114-year history, and after another reverse at home to promoted Union Berlin, sporting director Rouven Schröder seemed to feel it was time for a change. The 44-year-old is convinced he has brought in the right man for the job.
"Achim Beierlorzer is a perfect fit for Mainz, when you look at the facts," Schröder insisted. "He's a meticulous and thoughtful football expert, who's undergone massive personal development. He also has an air of authority about him; a talent for leading and developing players and generating team spirit. Several clubs had him on their radar last summer because he did such a spectacular job on a shoestring budget at Jahn Regensburg. His experience at Cologne doesn't diminish my professional estimation of him. For us, it was all about finding the right coach for our club and our team."
The two technicians will take charge of their first games at their new clubs when the Bundesliga returns this weekend, and neither of them have been spared by the fixture list. Gisdol's Cologne travel to face a free-scoring Leipzig on Saturday, while on Sunday Beierlorzer's Mainz go to in-form Hoffenheim, who have won their last five outings.
There's a baptism of fire in store for both Carnival coaches, then, but they will be hoping to set off fireworks in their new roles and get the fans back in a party mood as they look to keep their clubs in the Bundesliga.