Bulgarian Legend Balakov Formally Takes Over Germany's Kaiserslautern

Sports | March 22, 2012, Thursday // 19:34|  views

Hajduk Split boss Krasimir Balakov has taken over Kaiserslautern. Photo by Sofia Photo Agency

Bulgaria's legendary former playmaker Krasimir Balakov has formally taken over the German Bundesliga bottom club Kaiserslautern.

Balakov has signed a contract until June 30, 2013, with his immediate task to save the club from relegation.

"We are convinced that he can help us in the fight to avoid relegation and beyond. Even in the event of relegation he will be working with the aim of going straight back up," Kaiserslautern Chairman Stefan Kuntz said, as quoted by DPA.

Balakov replaces Marco Kurz who was sacked Tuesday after a 16-game winless streak. His first game in charge will be at fellow strugglers Freiburg on Saturday.

Former midfield international Balakov, 45, who spent eight years as a player in the Bundesliga at VfB Stuttgart between 1995 and 2003, confirmed earlier he was leaving Croatian side Hajduk Split to take over Kaiserslautern.

"In football, there are no guarantees," he said. "I took the offer from Kaiserslautern because I believe it can be well, that we can pull out and avoid relegation. It is most important that I quickly take hold of the strings ahead of the match with Freiburg."

Balakov is known for his key role in the greatest success of Bulgaria’s national football team – the bronze medal from the 1994 World Cup in the USA, where he played alongside other Bulgarian football legends such as Hristo Stoichkov, Lyuboslav Penev, Emil Kostadinov, and Yordan Lechkov.

After playing for Sporting Lisbon, Balakov had quite a successful career in Germany. He played for VfB Stuttgart where he won two UEFA Intertoto Cups (2000 and 2002) and a DFB-Pokal (1997), before retiring in 2003.

Bala, as he is known in Germany, has a total of 92 matches and 16 goals for the Bulgarian national team between 1988 and 2003. For Stuttgart, he has a total of 236 matches and 54 goals between 1995 and 2003.

Before being signed up by Kaiserslautern, the former Bulgaria international was coaching Croatian side Hajduk Split.

Kaiserslautern fired coach Marco Kurz on Tuesday as a result of a winless run that stretches back to October and sees the club languish at the foot of the Bundesliga table, with 20 points from 26 matches.

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Tags: Krasimir Balakov, Kaiserslautern, Stuttgart, football, coach, Hajduk Split, Germany, Bundesliga


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