Markus Weinzierl (l.) has returned for a second spell in charge of Augsburg following the dismissal of head coach Heiko Herrlich (r.). - © IMAGO / Team 2
Markus Weinzierl (l.) has returned for a second spell in charge of Augsburg following the dismissal of head coach Heiko Herrlich (r.). - © IMAGO / Team 2
bundesliga

Augsburg re-appoint Markus Weinzierl as head coach after dismissing Heiko Herrlich

Augsburg have re-appointed former head coach Markus Weinzierl after dismissing Heiko Herrlich from the position.

Herrlich, 49, leaves the Bavarian club in the wake of a 3-2 home defeat to Cologne that leaves them 13th in the table but only four points above the Billy Goats in the relegation play-off spot with three games to go.

The result means Augsburg have picked up only four points from their last six outings, including failing to beat other relegation rivals Arminia Bielefeld and Schalke, dropping closer to the danger zone and putting their 10-year Bundesliga status at risk.

Watch: Highlights of the Matchday 31 defeat to Cologne

“In our extensive analysis, we came to the decision that we needed to make a change in the position of head coach,” said managing director Stefan Reuter. “At the end, we lacked the belief we could see out the remaining games in this previous setup. We’d like to thank Heiko and [assistant] Iraklis Metaxas for their commitment for our FCA.

“We held very good talks with Markus at the weekend and are convinced he is the absolutely right coach for our current situation.”

A two-time Bundesliga champion and UEFA Champions League winner with Borussia Dortmund, former striker and 1994/95 Bundesliga top scorer Herrlich departs from the WWK Arena after 42 games in charge, winning 12 and losing 21. He ensured top-flight survival last season by finishing five points clear of the play-off after taking over from Martin Schmidt in March 2020.

He is succeeded by one of his predecessors. Weinzierl, 46, is Augsburg’s longest-serving coach in the Bundesliga, taking charge of 154 games across four seasons from 2012 to 2016. He famously guided Die Fuggerstädter into Europe for the first and so far only time with the 2015/16 UEFA Europa League campaign.

Weinzierl (r.) guided Augsburg to a UEFA Europa League knockout tie against Jürgen Klopp’s (l.) Liverpool in 2015/16. - imago sportfotodienst/imago/ActionPictures

Under him, Augsburg finished second in Group L behind Athletic Bilbao before a hugely creditable 1-0 aggregate defeat to Liverpool in the round of 32, having drawn at home.

Weinzierl’s four campaigns in charge saw the club finish 15th, eighth, sixth and 12th before he left to take charge of Schalke. His tenure there lasted just one season before a seven-month spell at the helm of VfB Stuttgart in 2018/19, which was most recent coaching appointment.

“I’m delighted to be back working with Stefan and the team, and building on our successful years together,” Weinzierl added. “I have so much to thank the club and want to lead FCA back to success. It’s nice to have the opportunity to once again be coach at FCA, and I’m convinced we’ll achieve our goal together of remaining in the division.”

Weinzierl now has three games left in this Bundesliga season to ensure Augsburg will feature in the first division for an 11th straight year. Those see a meeting with former club Stuttgart on Matchday 32 before a now crucial relegation clash with Werder Bremen on the penultimate weekend. The campaign ends with a Bavarian derby away at Bayern Munich.