Werder Bremen have extended the contract of head coach Alexander Nouri, which had been set to run out in the summer.
The 37-year-old has overseen the regeneration of a side that was seen as relegation certainties into a team chasing a spot in Europe next season, all in the space of less than a season.
The news was confirmed by the club on Monday, with Nouri and sporting director Frank Baumann holding a press conference on Tuesday. Although not stated by the club, it is reported that his contract will now run until 2019.
A transformation at the Weser-Stadion
The new contract is a reward for the stunning progress the team have made under Nouri since he took over in September, especially since the turn of the year.
The former manager of the club’s second team, he replaced Viktor Skripnik in September, initially on an interim basis, after the club lost its first three Bundesliga games of the season, including an 8-0 hammering away at Bayern Munich on the opening night.
Despite an initial boom on his arrival, the side continued to languish in the lower reaches of the table, until they embarked on an 11-game unbeaten run, including nine wins, which has seem them launch an unlikely challenge for a UEFA Europa League spot. Only champions Bayern Munich have had a better record in that time.
Nouri has developed the team into a more confident and entertaining unit over the past eight months. The club haven’t failed to score since the start of that unbeaten run in February, and even defeats in their last two games have seen them score three goals in each.
A chance to develop Werder further
Speaking on Monday, Baumann said that Nouri had “done brilliantly” in getting the club “out of a difficult situation” and leading them “up the table on step at a time.” For that reason, he said, the club were keen to allow him the opportunity to “develop Werder further.”
Nouri himself said he had been “certain” that he would stay at the club beyond the end of the season, even during a four-game losing streak in February that precede their rise up the table.
“I’m pleased with the faith that the club has place in me,” he added, as well as “the support of the fans and the passionate and hungry team.”
Bremen are eighth going into the final weekend of the season, and realistically need a win away at Borussia Dortmund to have a chance at a European place. Dortmund are unbeaten at home in the Bundesliga in over two years.
Quotes via Werder Bremen.