Soccer-Leverkusen appoint former Salzburg coach Schmidt


(Updates with quotes, details)

BERLIN, April 25 (Reuters) - Bayer Leverkusen have appointed former Salzburg manager Roger Schmidt as their new coach on a two-year contract starting in the close-season, the club said on Friday.

German Schmidt, who led Salzburg to the Austrian title this season, has never previously worked for a Bundesliga club, making his professional coaching debut as recently as in 2011/12 at Paderborn in the lower German divisions.

The 47-year-old will be officially unveiled as Leverkusen coach on July 1.

"We looked at the market carefully and decided in favour of Roger Schmidt whose style of playing football fits ideal to Leverkusen," said Leverkusen sports director Rudi Voeller.

Sascha Lewandowski took over as coach on a temporary basis after Sami Hyypia was sacked this month.

Leverkusen made a good start to the season and also made it past the Champions League group stage but have slipped to fourth in the Bundesliga following a poor run since the winter break and are in danger of missing out on Champions League qualification.

"I am delighted to have been given a new task at a top club and am happy to be able to work in the Bundesliga," said Schmidt.

Salzburg, playing an aggressive game with quick counter-attacks, won their domestic title back in March with a record eight games to spare.

They have also set a new league goal-scoring record, eclipsing the previous mark of 101 goals set by Rapid Vienna in the 1985/86 season.

(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann, editing by Ed Osmond and Toby Davis)

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