Kaiserslautern appoint Balakov
Kaiserslautern have confirmed former Stuttgart midfielder Krassimir Balakov as their new coach.
The 45-year-old Bulgarian has left his job in charge at Croatian side Hajduk Split to sign a contract with the Bundesliga strugglers until June 2013. Balakov, who made more than 200 league appearances for Stuttgart between 1995 and 2003 and won 92 caps for Bulgaria, replaces Marco Kurz, who was sacked earlier this week.
Balakov told the club's official website: "I have accepted Kaiserslautern's offer because I believe we can pull ourselves out of trouble and avoid relegation. As I player I often used to run out at the Betzenberg and I know the imposing atmosphere and the passionate fans.
"The Red Devils are a household name in Europe and I can hardly wait to start work. This job should be with a view to the long term so that Kaiserslautern can get back on a healthy footing and again be an integral part of the Bundesliga."
Kaiserslautern chairman Stefan Kuntz said: "Krassimir Balakov has huge experience, knows the Bundesliga inside and out and has proved that he can work successfully with young players.
"We are convinced that he can be decisive for us in the fight for survival and can help us beyond that. Even in the case of relegation, he would be here to help us achieve the goal of immediate promotion."
Balakov will have his work cut out to turn Kaiserslautern's season around. They have gone 16 games without a win and Sunday's 4-1 defeat at home to Schalke left the club six points from safety at the bottom of the Bundesliga.
Balakov had only been in charge of Hajduk since May last year and leaves them second in the table. He reached an amicable agreement with the Croatian club to release him from his contract, Kaiserslautern said.
His assistant at the German club will be countryman Ilia Gruev, who was also his right-hand man at Hajduk. Balakov's first game in charge is a crucial clash away to relegation rivals Freiburg on Saturday.
Balakov enjoyed a successful playing career, reaching the semi-finals of the 1994 World Cup with Bulgaria, winning the DFB-Pokal in 1997 and reaching the final of the Cup Winners' Cup in 1998. He also played for Sporting Lisbon and has previously managed Swiss sides Grasshopper and St Gallen and Bulgarian outfit Chernomorets Burgas.