André Breitenreiter replaces Daniel Stendel at Hannover
Photo: Hannover 96

Hannover 96 have replaced head coach Daniel Stendel with André Breitenreiter after the side dropped out of the promotion places in the 2. Bundesliga.

Breitenreiter is reunited with sporting director Horst Heldt, who only recently arrived at Hannover himself, whom he worked with at Schalke 04 last season.

Stendel leaves after just under a year in charge, with his assistant Markus Gellhaus also being released.

Blip enough to see Stendel let go

The decision to let Stendel go comes after the goalless draw with FC St. Pauli on Saturday, which left the club with just one win in four games and saw them drop to fourth in the table. Despite that small dip though, they remain in touch with all of the top three.

The 42-year-old, who with the exception of a season with St. Pauli towards the end of his playing days had been with the club since 1999, was appointed initially on an interim basis in April last year with the club looking doomed to relegation from the Bundesliga.

After two wins and two draws from the final six games of the season, he was given the job permanently in the summer. With 13 wins and seven draws from their 25 games so far, they’ve remained in the promotion hunt throughout, with the latest matchday only the first time since November they’ve fallen out of the top three.

Despite that there had been doubts over his position since Heldt arrived as sporting director in early March. The 47-year-old was never known for his patience with managers when he was at Schalke, and there was a feeling that he would eventually choose to appoint his own man at the helm.

And on Monday morning, ahead of the international break, it was announced that the club had parted company with both Stendel and Gellhaus.

Breitenreiter returns to his home town club

Heldt made it clear in the statement announcing the move that the club’s single goal this season was still a “direct return to the Bundesliga.” Although he said that it was not an easy decision to make, he felt the club were “forced” to make the change for the final few weeks of the season.

The man he has brought in is Breitenreiter, who like Heldt left Schalke in the summer after just one year in charge.

Before that he had led SC Paderborn 07 to promotion to the Bundesliga, with his side briefly topping the table early in the season before eventually being relegated. He was born in Langenhagen, just north of Hannover, and he started his playing career with the club.

Speaking at his unveiling on Monday, Breitenreiter said that it was “great and very special” to become the coach of his “home club.” He said that it was the reality that their current position in the table “is not enough at the end of the season,” and that the team would have to show their “qualities” in the season run-in.

His first game in charge will be a top-four clash with 1. FC Union Berlin on the 1st April, with nine games remaining to restore their Bundesliga status.

Quotes via Hannover 96.