Hand-over for the new season
At the end of the 2016/2017 campaign, Ralf Kellermann will hand over the position of head-coach of VfL Wolfsburg’s ladies team to current assistant-coach Stephan Lerch. The 48-year-old will switch his focus exclusively to the function of Sporting Director, in order to sustainably and purposefully drive on the further professionalization of women’s football at VfL Wolfsburg. "Several years ago we avowed to women’s football at VfL Wolfsburg and formulated our aspirations of establishing ourselves at the very top both nationally as well as internationally. In doing so, there is no avoiding structural, as well as personnel, developments. Ralf Kellermann has operated exceptionally as head-coach since 2008, whilst simultaneously taking a leading role in the improvement of structures, such as squad planning or in youth development. We now want to take the next step in women’s football and in planning, we were in agreement that the double-function is difficult to implement, which is why we opted for this model," explained VfL manager Thomas Röttgermann.
Prospects at the peak of world football
As from the beginning of the new season, Stephan Lerch will take over as head-coach and thus assume complete responsibility for the Bundesliga team. Röttgermann: "We believe he is up to the task. He has proven his abilities in this area not only with our reserve team, but also very convincingly as assistant-coach to the Bundesliga team." Lerch, from Eberstadt near Darmstadt, joined VfL in 2013 and initially spent two years as coach of the reserve team. In addition, the 32-year-old, who is in possession of all DFB coaching licences through to the ‘A-Licence’, was also responsible as Sporting Director in women’s youth football. Lerch gathered experience in coaching early on, with the sport and biology teacher having previously acted as head-coach of the 'Hessischen Fußball Verband' selection in the Darmstadt region.
"We want to bring further titles to Wolfsburg"
Ralf Kellermann, who was crowned FIFA World Women’s Coach of the Year in 2014, has guided the Wolves to amazing successes over the past ten years: The VfL ladies claimed the Champions League and Bundesliga titles in 2013 and 2014, as well as securing three DFB-Cup victories (2013, 2015 and 2016). "This has not been an easy step to take, but it is the correct move both for the prospective good of VfL Wolfsburg, as well as me personally. I firmly believe that Stephan Lerch is the correct solution and that together we can further professionalise and drive on women’s football in Wolfsburg. Over the past two years, we in Germany have come to see that the competition internationally has massively upgraded in all areas. We must now bundle our strength and competence even more, if we intend to maintain a position at the very top. In the coming weeks, our complete concentration will remain on the current season. We have big plans in the championship and the cup and we will be doing all in our power to take two further trophies to Wolfsburg."
"A massive challenge"
Stephan Lerch, who was a youth team player at Eintracht Frankfurt and was also active in Darmstadt 98’s U23 side, is excited about his new task at VfL Wolfsburg. "I see it as a massive challenge and I would like to thank Thomas Röttgermann and Ralf Kellermann for the fate they have in my work. I believe there is a great deal still possible with this team, the coaching and support staff together Ralf Kellermann as Sporting Director. Together we will continue to work intensively on extending the success story of women’s football in Wolfsburg further still."
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