Karlsruher SC’s search for a new head coach is over after they announced the appointment of Mirko Slomka.
The 49-year-old replaces Tomas Oral, who was sacked at the beginning of September, and arrives after the club was reportedly turned down by both Dirk Schuster and Franco Foda.
He has signed a deal running until June 2016, and will beginning work on the 3 January.
Snubbed by Schuster and Foda
Karlsruhe have been on the search for a new coach since parting company with Oral following the 2-1 defeat against SpVgg Greuther Fürth, which left them in the bottom three of the 2. Bundesliga.
They are now a place higher in fifteenth after interim coach Lukas Kwasniok lead them to two goalless draws against Dyanmo Dresden and leaders Eintracht Braunschweig in their final two games before the winter break. However they are just a point clear of second-bottom Erzgebirge Aue and three of bottom club FC St. Pauli.
They had been to quick approached Schuster over the vacancy following his own departure from FC Augsburg, and after he snubbed them they had been widely expected to appoint former 1.FC Kaiserslautern coach Foda. Hhowever he chose to remain with his current side SK Sturm Graz, who currently sit third in the Austrian Bundesliga.
Experienced Bundesliga coach but stepping down a tier
Slomka returns to football more than two years after he was sacked by Hamburger SV in September 2014 after just 19 games in charge. After narrowly escaping relegation the season before, they left after they failed to win any of the first three games of the season.
He had more successful spells in charge of FC Schalke 04, reaching the UEFA Cup semi-finals and finishing second in the Bundesliga in 2007, and Hannover 96, whom he led to an all-time Bundesliga high of fourth in the 2010-11 season before twice taking them the knockout stages of the by-then renamed UEFA Europa League.
He has no previous experience in the 2. Bundesliga as a head coach, but was assistant to Ralf Rangnick in a previous spell at Hannover when they won the division in the 2001-02 season.
Reunited with Oliver Kreuzer
Speaking on the club’s website, president Ingo Wellenreuther said that they were “delighted” to be able to appoint Slomka. “He has already proved several times in his career that he can deal successfully with difficult situations,” he said.
Sporting director Oliver Kreuzer, who held the same role at Hamburg during Slomka’s time there, described him as their “dream coach” and given his previous experience in working with him, he added “I am sure that he will be successful at Karlsruhe.”
Slomka himself also pointed to his past working relationship with Kreuzer, as well as positive discussions with the rest of the management, and added that it was his belief that Karlsruhe is amongst Germany’s top traditional clubs, and that he would “maintain and care for this tradition.”
With all this in mind, he believes that “it is possible that everyone here together can develop something.” No doubt he will be hoping to help the club move out of danger and, in the longer term, take them back to the Bundesliga for the first time since 2009.
Quotes via Karlsruher SC.