Pitchside Europe

Bremen sack ‘German Fergie’ Schaaf after 41 years at club

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Werder Bremen coach Thomas Schaaf (Reuters)

Werder Bremen coach Thomas Schaaf (Reuters)

Werder Bremen have sacked the closest thing German football has to Sir Alex Ferguson – their coach Thomas Schaaf.

While Ferguson has spent 26 years at Old Trafford Schaff's has been at Bremen for an amazing 41 years – although only the last 14 of those as a manager.

Schaaf truly is a one-club man, playing for the club as a youth before joining the professional ranks in 1978. The defender was assistant manager while still a player, retiring in 1995.

He took over as the manager of the second team that same year, before being given the permanent job in 1999.

Werder won the double under his stewardship in 2003-4, and won the German Cup three times and League Cup once under his tenure.

But their fortunes have declined after a run of five straight appearances in the Champions League last decade, and this season the club lie a disappointing 14th with one match remaining in the Bundesliga.

"I had an outstanding time with Werder," said Schaaf, "connected to many positive experiences and great successes. I want to say thank you to all, who joined and supported me on my way. I wish Werder Bremen all the best for the future."

Sporting Director Thomas Eichin paid tribute to his service to the club, saying he defined Werder Bremen:

"As announced, we’ve analysed our sporting development and came to the conclusion, that we’d like to start off new," Eichin said.

"Thanks to Thomas, for everything he did in more than 40 years as member of Werder Bremen as player and coach. The club celebrated its biggest victories with him. He defined Werder.”

Schaaf, 52, will be replaced by assistants Wolfgang Rolff and Matthias Honerbach for the last two weeks of the season.

Schaaf and Ferguson have nothing on Jimmy Davis though – the manager of Waterloo Dock AFC, who play in the Liverpool County Premier League league. Davis has just announced that he is stepping down after 50 years in charge.

Read his story here: The man who outlasted Fergie: Britain’s longest-serving manager retiring after 50 years

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