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Bayern holding on to Hitzfeld

Ottmar Hitzfeld has signed a contract that will keep the 58-year-old in charge of FC Bayern München until 2008 after a bright start to his second spell.

Ottmar Hitzfeld has signed a one-year extension to his contract at FC Bayern München and will remain in charge until next summer after a bright start to his second spell at the club.

'Totally convinced'
Hitzfeld, 58, initially arrived on a short-term deal to replace Felix Magath at the beginning of the year, but the coach has persuaded the German champions he is worthy of an extended stay in the job. "Ottmar has totally convinced us with his work over the past few weeks," said general manager Uli Hoeness. "His decision to extend his contract means we can plan for next season with him."

Coaching pleasure
"I am pleased to be able to continue my work here," added Hitzfeld, whose fourth-placed side are back in contention for the Bundesliga title and face AC Milan in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals on 3 and 11 April after eliminating Real Madrid CF in the last 16. "The past few weeks have reminded me how much I enjoy coaching and I believe the team and I can still achieve a lot. That was an important reason to stay at Bayern."

Impressive results
A further extension has not been ruled out for Hitzfeld, who guided Bayern to a fourth European Champion Clubs' Cup in 2001 having lifted the trophy with BV Borussia Dortmund four years earlier, while his assistant Michael Henke has also been given another 12 months. The new coaching duo proved their worth by knocking Madrid out of the UEFA Champions League first knockout round on away goals and restoring stability to the side's league results, although Bayern still trail Bundesliga leaders FC Schalke 04 by six points.