Magath takes over for ousted Fulham boss Meulensteen

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BY MATTHEW LEVINE
Staff Writer

For Rene Meulensteen, it was a short tenure at the helm of Fulham.

After 17 games in charge, four victories and sitting currently at the bottom of the Premier League, the London club has decided to make another managerial change following the sacking of Martin Jol earlier this year.

Fulham were showing some signs of life with a brave display at Old Trafford that led to a draw and then a heartbreaking loss against Liverpool where the team was minutes away from a point until a poor decision by Fulham defender Sascha Riether gifted Liverpool a late penalty kick in a 3-2 loss.

However encouraging, it wasn’t enough for Meulensteen to keep his job.

Step right up, Felix Magath. The 60-year old boss was last seen managing Vfl Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga up until October 2012, leaving the German club by mutual consent.

Chairman Shad Khan told the club’s official website, “I am very happy to welcome Felix Magath to Fulham Football Club. Felix is an accomplished manager with multiple honours in the Bundesliga and a hunger to replicate his success with Fulham in the Barclays Premier League.

“Our club has shown promise in recent matches, but the fact is we have not won a league match since January 1,” he continued. “Given our form, we can no longer merely hope that our fortunes will finally turn. And with 12 matches remaining and at least four points separating us from safety, we certainly can no longer post empty results. Action was required.

Alistair Mackintosh did a wonderful job during the January transfer window to improve our Club. This week, Alistair recommended Felix, with his history of producing results for Clubs with similar challenges as ours, as the new manager of Fulham. Alistair’s recommendation received my complete approval and Felix has my unequivocal support.”

Magath has had a successful career managing in Germany. He has also led clubs like Hamburg, Nurnberg, Werder Bremen, Eintracht Frankfurt, Vfb Stuttgart and Schalke. He was at the helm for Bayern Munich in back-to-back seasons winning the German Double as well as leading Wolfsburg to a Bundesliga crown in 2009.

Mackintosh added, “The opportunity to bring in a manager with the experience of Felix Magath would typically be unlikely at this point in the season. However, Felix relishes this challenge. He is very impressed with our squad and commitment by Mr. Khan, and his confidence is precisely what we need over these final three months of the season. I thank Mr. Khan for his support and we are all looking forward to welcoming Felix to Fulham.”

Sacking Meulensteen now is a risky decision for the Cottagers. Magath will have to imprint his philosophy with 12 games remaining in the Premier League. Will it be enough to give the Cottagers a boost to lift them out of the relegation zone? That remains to be seen.

The Cottagers are only four points adrift of getting out of the drop zone and Magath will have his first chance of beginning that climb away to West Bromwich Albion on February 22nd.


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