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Markus Weinzierl retires as a coach

DIn a mega bang, an offended Markus Weinzierl saved himself for just after the final whistle. The FC Augsburg coach single-handedly announced his surprising retirement and disclosed an ailing relationship with manager Stefan Reuter. “I actually wanted to stay here longer,” said the former returnee after the 2-1 win against Spielvereinigung Greuther Fürth on Saturday. “For me it is the right decision not to have any more conversations.”

Weinzierl only had one contract with FC Augsburg until the end of June. An extension was actually considered a formality. There should be talks with Reuter next week. It was a “clear sign” if no talks about the future had taken place before the last matchday, Weinzierl said after the final with a bang. “Many reasons” would have been decisive in the end to say goodbye.

Weinzierl did not tell Reuter. “No, but he’ll notice that now,” said the 47-year-old trainer on Sky TV when asked a question. After a month-long process, he finally made the decision the day before the last home game – and left Reuter out. “I didn’t have the impression,” replied the former national player when asked whether his relationship with Weinzierl had been broken.

Weinzierl came back as a beacon of hope in April 2021. He replaced Heiko Herrlich three games before the end of the season. FC Augsburg was 13th – and was so after the last matchday. So the goal of staying up was achieved – like this season. The Fuggerstadt team ended the season in 14th place, but Reuter had expected more. “I think the squad is really good, that we could have had a better season,” he said.

“It wasn’t planned that way,” said Weinzierl after his blitz-out, while his players were still celebrating with their families in front of the fan curves. “My heart hurts too.”

For Weinzierl, his return was “like coming home,” he said last year. The Straubinger had switched to FC Schalke in 2016 after four successful years together, including the Europa League tour. Even then, Weinzierl and Reuter had complained about each other’s communication and showed how strained their relationship was. Weinzierl later moved on briefly to VfB Stuttgart – but both stations were disappointing.

Weinzierl knew the environment in Augsburg. “Very, very long-term” was actually his plan there. With the surprising announcement on Friday of the resignation of club president Klaus Hofmann for health reasons, he lost an advocate. “It’s a pillar that broke away,” admitted Weinzierl. Overall, he lacks a basis for a future in the club.

Reuter was irritated by the sudden farewell. “It came as a huge surprise to me,” he said. The former national player pointed out that he had made an appointment with Weinzierl to sit down next week and then have talks about the future. There was a clear timetable. “I will not avoid him, but his decision is to be accepted,” said Reuter.

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There is no timetable for finding a coach. “We’ll sit down and find the right coach for FC Augsburg,” said Reuter. When asked if he would still be at FC Augsburg after the summer, the 55-year-old replied: “You can assume that.”

There has long been speculation about possible Weinzierl successors. According to information from “Sport Bild”, the coach of Borussia Dortmund II, Enrico Maassen, is one of the candidates. Initial talks are said to have taken place. Weinzierl now wants to take a longer vacation.

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