FC Bayern München have appointed AZ Alkmaar boss Louis van Gaal as coach on a two-year contract.
The 57-year-old Dutchman will take over on 1 July from Jupp Heynckes, who last month replaced Jürgen Klinsmann at the Bundesliga club on a deal until the season's end. Van Gaal joined AZ in 2005 and has just guided the Eredivisie outfit to their first Dutch title since 1980/81. Alkmaar were crowned champions on 19 April. Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said: "We're happy to have found such an experienced and successful coach." As part of the move, Bayern will visit AZ for a pre-season friendly in summer 2010.
'Parting as friends'
"It is magnificent that after four years AZ were still prepared to do everything possible to keep me at the club, but it is also magnificent that a club like Bayern did all they could to sign me," said the coach. "You dream about clubs like Bayern, so I am a happy man." Van Gaal, who will take video analyst Max Rekkers and physio Jos van Dijk to Munich with him to Munich, added: "AZ is a great club. I came to here for private and business reasons and to prove myself again. That resulted in a title and I then I asked to leave, as the job was done. I am glad I can leave for Bayern Munchen without a fee. It is a beautiful moment. We are parting as friends."
Van Gaal began his coaching career in 1986 as assistant coach at AZ, before taking a similar role with AFC Ajax between 1988 and 1991. He graduated to become head coach with his home-town team and enjoyed a period of prolonged success, lifting consecutive Dutch titles between 1993/94 and 1995/96 as well as the 1991/92 UEFA Cup, the UEFA Champions League in 1995 and the UEFA Super Cup later that year.
His winning streak continued at FC Barcelona, where he stayed between 1997 and 2000, steering the Catalan side to two Liga championships, a Spanish Cup and another UEFA Super Cup. A two-year spell in charge of the Netherlands followed before he returned to Barcelona for a short stint in 2002, and then to Ajax as sporting manager. Under caretaker Heynckes' tutelage, Bayern sit level on points with VfL Wolfsburg at the top of the Bundesliga with two games to go. The Eredivisie season finished last weekend.
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