Cologne have announced that Steffen Baumgart will take over as head coach for the start of the 2021/22 season.
The 49-year-old, who is entering the final weeks of his contract with Bundesliga 2 side Paderborn, will succeed Friedhelm Funkel on a deal through to summer 2023.
"We're delighted that Steffen Baumgart has decided to join Cologne. He's done a fantastic job at Paderborn down the years," commented sporting director Horst Heldt.
"He has shown he can develop and improve players, no matter their age. He's the right man for the direction we want to take, and an emotional leader, who fits the club well."
Despite previously only coaching in Germany's fourth division, Baumgart proved an instant hit when he took charge of Paderborn in April 2017. The former striker - who scored 29 goals in 225 Bundesliga appearances for Hansa Rostock, Wolfsburg and Energie Cottbus - oversaw successive promotions from the 3. Liga and Bundesliga 2, returning the Westphalian outfit to the big time for only the second time in their history.
Paderborn finished bottom of the Bundesliga in 2019/20 - just as they had in 2014/15 - and are currently eighth in Bundesliga 2. It remains to be seen whether Cologne will be joining them there next season. The Billy Goats are second bottom of the current top-flight standings, two points adrift of the relegation play-off spot, with only two rounds of fixtures remaining.
Whatever their fate, Baumgart is "looking forward to the new challenge".
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