Leverkusen place Tayfun Korkut in charge until the end of the season
Photo: Bayer Leverkusen

Leverkusen place Tayfun Korkut in charge until the end of the season

The former Hannover and Kaiserslautern coach is the surprise choice to guide the team following the sacking of Roger Schmidt.

James Rees

Bayer Leverkusen have named Tayfun Korkut as interim coach until the end of the season, a day after parting company with Roger Schmidt.

The former Hannover 96 and 1. FC Kaiserslautern coach will be joined at the club by his assistant Xaver Zembrod.

The 42-year-old will have eleven games to guide Leverkusen from their current tenth-position in the Bundesliga to the European qualification places.

Limited experience with Hannover and Kaiserslautern

Korkut, whose nomadic playing career took him to clubs such as Fenerbahce SK, Real Sociedad and RCD Espanyol, is something of a surprise choice given his relative lack of experience for a club of Leverkusen’s stature.

He gained his coaching badges with the DFB in 2011, alongside his two predecessors at Leverkusen, Schmidt and Sascha Lewandowski. He then worked as an assistant coach to Turkey manager Abdullah Avci, having previously won 42 caps and played in two international tournaments for the country.

He had his first experience of managing in the Bundesliga with Hannover between January 2014 and April 2015. Despite a strong start to his reign, he was sacked after a 12-game winless streak, with his last game in charge a 4-0 defeat at Leverkusen.

He then went on to Kaiserslautern, where he was appointed last summer, however his reign was a short one. After just four wins in 17 games in charge of the 2. Bundesliga side, he resigned in late December with the Red Devils thirteenth in the table.

The right philosophy for Leverkusen

He arrives at Leverkusen two days after the side were beaten 6-2 by Borussia Dortmund, Schmidt last’s match in charge, with the team losing four of their last six Bundesliga matches. They are currently tenth, five points off a guaranteed UEFA Europa League spot and a further six short of the top four and the UEFA Champions League.

Speaking at Korkut’s unveiling, Leverkusen CEO Michael Schade cited his football knowledge, connections and “experience of the international stage both as a player and as a coach” as the reasons for appointing him for the short-term role.

Rudi Völler, the club’s sporting director, described him as “a seasoned and modern coach” whose philosophy matches that of the club. Both men were confident he is the man to guide them to a strong finish to the season.

Korkut himself meanwhile described his appointment as an “expression of great trust.” He said he is looking forwards to working “with very talented players” as well as the chance to challenge himself at “a top club.”

His first game in charge will be against Werder Bremen on Friday, before the second leg of Leverkusen’s Champions League last-16 tie with Atlético Madrid, in which they are trailing 4-2.

Quotes via Bayer Leverkusen.