FC Schalke 04 have extended the contract of coach Mirko Slomka until 30 June 2007 after the 38-year-old impressed in his first three months at the helm.
UEFA Cup success
Slomka took charge of the German club - initially until the end of the season - on 3 January having served as assistant to his predecessor Ralf Rangnick. It was agreed that Slomka would be awarded a one-year deal if the team finished in the Bundesliga's top three - thereby earning a place in next season's UEFA Champions League - and although this seems unlikely with Schalke in fourth position, six points behind third-placed Werder Bremen with five matches remaining, Slomka has been rewarded for guiding the Gelsenkirchen side to the UEFA Cup semi-finals.
"We are 100 per cent convinced of the work Mirko is doing," explained Schalke general manager Rudi Assauer after the club's board made a unanimous decision. "This is why we did not wait until the last game of the season." Slomka was surprised at the timing of the announcement, saying: "I did not expect this right now as we are not doing well in the Bundesliga. But I am delighted and this is a big honour. Success for Schalke means establishing the club among the top three in Germany." Schalke face Sevilla FC in the last four of the UEFA Cup with the first leg at home on 20 April.
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