Former Swiss international Marcel Koller has succeeded Dietmar Constantini as coach of the Austrian national team after agreeing a deal to take charge until December 2013.
Koller, a seven-time Swiss Super League winner as a player with Grasshopper-Club, and two-time league champion as coach of FC St. Gallen in 2000 and Grasshoppers three years later, replaces Constantini who stepped down on 13 September. The 50-year-old will begin his new role on 1 November, with a view to helping the Alpine nation qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
"We have found a solution that fulfils our requirements," said Austrian Football Association (ÖFB) president Leopold Windtner. "He is a meticulous worker, always there for the players. He can develop a team and especially players. We were looking for someone with international experience and people skills as well as leadership qualities; a team player who has a positive approach to sports science and medicine – we have found him."
Koller, meanwhile, has taken encouragement from a young squad that, he believes, has a bright future. "From studying DVDs I can see there are young players with great talent. My view is that it was just small details that prevented Austria qualifying [for UEFA EURO 2012]. They did not take their chances, and in defence individual mistakes cost them."
The former VfL Bochum 1848 boss, who also had a spell at the helm of 1. FC Köln, will not assume control until after Austria's final two qualifiers away to Azerbaijan on 7 October and Kazakhstan four days later – with ÖFB sporting director Willi Ruttensteiner acting as caretaker. "I want to use the time to prepare for my move to Vienna," he said. "Otherwise, things would be slightly hectic."
Koller will take the reins for the first time in a friendly against Ukraine on 15 November. "I want to work closely with the players, but also the club coaches and managers. Several pieces of the jigsaw have to come together for the first time."
Austria are fourth in UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying Group A, 16 points adrift of leaders Germany and six behind second-placed Turkey with an inferior head-to-head record.
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