View Full Version : Leverkuson Sack Toppmoller
Feb 16 2003, 02:36 PM
Klaus Toppmoller has been sacked as coach of Bayer Leverkusen.
Toppmoller, who took over from Berti Vogts at the end of the 2000/1 season, guided Bayer to the final of the Champions League last season.
But the club decided to part company with Toppmoller, who was voted "coach of the year" in 2002, after a slump in form this season. Leverkusen have lost their last five matches and the German's fate was finally sealed in the 2-1 defeat to Hansa Ronstock on Saturday.
Toppmoller had been under increasing pressure in the media after failing to overturn his side's losing streak but refused to resign. The club are now 15th in the 18-team German league but are still in the Champions League, and face Newcastle at home on Tuesday.
They have won only one of their last Bundesliga outings and have struggled in the midst of injuries and following the sale of Michael Ballack and Ze Roberto at the end of last season. Thomas Horster, a former coach of the club's youth side, will take over as caretaker boss.
Feb 16 2003, 03:22 PM
I think they have made a BIG mistake there :USA_Blue's_Smiley
Feb 16 2003, 03:35 PM
more on this story
This season was always going to be hard on Toppmoeller, who saw the heart ripped from his team at the end of the last campaign with the sale of inspirational captain Michael Ballack and creative Brazilian Ze Roberto to Bayern Munich.
Even so, it would have still been impossible to envisage such a scenario as last season drew towards its momentous finale.
The coach, who took over at Leverkusen from Berti Vogts in 2001, had quickly developed his team into a hard-working but attacking and attractive side, who soon set about deflating the egos of some of Europe's elite teams.
As the season drew to a close they had a five point-lead in the Bundesliga but managed to lose two of their last three games to allow Borussia Dortmund to pinch the title.
It was something of a familiar tale for 'Neverkusen', who two years earlier lost the Bundesliga title on the last day of the season, one of four runners-up finishes in six years.
The team from an industrial town outside Cologne have never won the Bundesliga.
They then lost to Schalke 04 in the German Cup final days later, before Zinedine Zidane completed their trio of disappointments by firing Real Madrid to a 2-1 victory in the Champions League final.
Speaking after that Glasgow defeat Toppmoeller admitted that replacing Ballack and Ze Roberto would not be easy.
'We can't strengthen our squad, we can't even keep what we've got,' he said. 'It is very difficult to replace such players.'
The coach with the unmistakable mass of grey hair, was always likely to become a target for other clubs and countries and even before the end of the season he had been offered the job of coaching Nigeria in last year's World Cup finals.
Despite the triple disappointment, Toppmoeller's achievement was recognised by UEFA when he was named a runner-up to Real's Vicente Del Bosque in their coach of the year awards, while he was also voted Germany's top coach in a domestic poll.
The new season began badly with only one win in their opening five league games.
A 6-2 thrashing by Olympiakos Piraeus followed by a 2-1 home defeat by Manchester United also appeared to sink any hopes of another good year in the Champions League.
Ballack and Ze Roberto were being sorely missed, the situation not helped by a rash of injuries, and only back-to-back wins over Maccabi Haifa kept their European hopes alive.
Revenge over Olympiakos edged them into to the second phase of the Champions League but defeats against Inter Milan and Barcelona have left them facing a second round elimination.
They are still in the German Cup, where they will play Bayern in the semi-finals, but they needed penalties to get past amateurs SpVgg Unterhaching in the last round.
A few years ago that would have been seen as a respectable effort but having briefly given the club a seat at soccer's top table, Toppmoeller has now fallen foul of their newly refined tastes.
It´s sad for Toppi, because he is a great coach, but at a special point the coach has to go...:(
Now someone like Werner Lorant would be perfect for Leverkusen, someone, who is hard and motivates the players! :devil
Feb 17 2003, 06:26 PM
It is very sad.
The 2002 Leverkusen team was a joy to watch.
A football dream.
Despite pressure for points and Champions League money-Leverkusen played total football and added some romance back to football.
His 2002 team always had at least 7 Germans in the team which is a rarity in football today.Germany's success at the 2002 WM owes alot to Toppmoller.
Players like Ramelow,Schneider and Ballack improved so much under Toppmoller.
The 2002 team especially in their blue jerseys were wonderful to watch.
I still have the wonderful performances against Liverpool (4-2) and against Manchester United (2-2 away) on video which I will keep for a long long time.
He seems to be an unlucky coach.
The Bundesliga was lost you could say when Hans Butt missed a penalty against Bremen.Bremen went on to beat Leverkusen in the Bayer Arena and the title began to slip.
Even on the least day Bayer were Champions with 19 minutes left in Dortmund's game against Bremen.Bremen also missed a few chances to win.
Toppmoller was dealt with many blows.
Losing players like Ballack and I have to say the overrated Ze Roberto to rivals is a bitter pill.
I feel though the main problem is the players who seem to be suffering from last seasons exploits.
To play all those wonderful games last season and not win anything must be such a demotivatory factor especially this season when the players now find themselves at the other end of the footballing spectrum.
Remember too that Bayer had the most players in the World Cup semi finals and finals-Lucio and Basturk aswell as the German players.
Exhaustion from the World Cup must play its part too.As well as reaching another final and losing!
This season has not been helped by the poor form of these players aswell as injuries to Nowotny and Lucio.
Juan and Franca have been terrible and Bayer should stop buying these homesick Brazilians and play German players like Kleine,Bierofka,Brdaric,Preuss etc.
Pity that Toppmoller cannot sack Calmund for giving his top players to Bayern.
Thank you Klaus for your football.Please do not change.
Feb 18 2003, 12:40 AM
i can understand from leverkusens perspective - they need better performances.
one could however, and i m sure the clubs management did, understand that they could not expect the same form as last season over the 36 bundesliga games with the loss of ze roberto and ballack. but the performances have been a lot worse than what one would have thought, and the fact that they are on the brink of relelgation certainly underlines that they performed below par.
toppemoeller has to take some responsibility, because how many times this year has the club been leading in matches, only to concede the last two goals of a game. i had though a couple of months ago that things had turned around, when they got to mod table, with some good results, including beating schalke at schalke and kusen have perfomred fine in the champions league, ubt i guess they ae just getting a bit anxious towards the business end of a s eason.
it amy be a bad decision but in the end, as i personally don't think there is any benefit from changing manager mid season.
Feb 18 2003, 01:32 AM
I'll be the first to admit I aint a massive German football league follower but from the Champions League final to a point or so above the relegation zone in a year? They aint the surprise package no more maybe, teams are clued up on em and know what to expect?
I also hear their inspirational defender, Jens Nowotny, is on his way/is back. Maybe a turning point?
Feb 18 2003, 10:39 AM
Don`t know if kicking Toppi out was a good and fair move. No matter how good a coach you are you won`t win anything if players are just average. Leverkusen are going through hard time. They lost Ballack, Ze Roberto. Lucio, Novotny are injured at the moment. Ramelov is to be sidelined as well. i`d give him more time to pull the team together.
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