Funkel extends with Fortuna

Funkel extends with Fortuna

Can Friedhelm Funkel keep up his good recent work?

Jonathan Walsh

On Thursday, Fortuna Düsseldorf announced that head coach, Friedhelm Funkel had extended his deal with the club through to 2018.

The veteran manager has led Fortuna to a superb start this season, taking 22 points from 13 games; the team now sit well-placed in the promotion race.

With his old contract running out at the end of the season, the new deal will add the stability and leadership Fortuna have been chasing since Norbert Meier departed.

There have been eight men in charge - including interim head coaches - since Meier left in 2013, with Funkel set to be the first to last more than a year.

Tough start turned around

The 62-year-old took over in mid-March with Fortuna embroiled in a relegation battle. It wasn't an easy ride but Funkel did guide them clear of the drop.

But this season has seen a huge change in fortunes, and now the ESPRIT arena side are one of the 2. Bundesliga's form teams.

Putting full faith in youth and adding experience to supplement that with the likes of Axel Bellinghausen and Michael Rensing has worked wonders so far.

Funkel has his say

Speaking afterwards, Funkel beamed: "I am really pleased with the work so far, which I began here in March this year, and also to continue that in the next year and a half."

The Fortuna boss added, "We want to make a positive impact in the coming months on our united Fortuna path."

He also explained, "The co-operation with the team, but also with the board is really fun for me."

Funkel concluded, "Therefore I am still highly motivated to achieve a lot with this club."

Fortuna welcome Hannover 96 to the ESPRIT arena on Friday evening, and Funkel will be keen to show he means business after penning the new deal.