Cologne picks new leadership to improve Bundesliga fortune

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Hamburg's coach Markus Gisdol waits for the kick-off prior the German first division Bundesliga soccer match between Hamburger SV and Borussia Moenchengladbach. (Daniel Reinhardt/dpa via AP)

COLOGNE, Germany — Cologne is bidding for a fresh start in the Bundesliga after appointing Markus Gisdol as coach and Horst Heldt as sporting director.

Cologne, which is in danger of a swift return to the second division, announced on Monday that Heldt and Gisdol signed contracts through June 2021, with the latter’s deal applicable only for the Bundesliga.

"With this, the sporting leadership has been newly aligned to achieve the goal of staying up," the club said.

Heldt and Gisdol replace the recently departed Armin Veh as sporting director and Achim Beierlorzer as coach. Beierlorzer wasn’t out of work for long after being appointed Mainz coach on Monday.

Gisdol previously coached Hamburger SV and Hoffenheim, while Heldt, who was Stuttgart sporting director when it won the Bundesliga in 2007, is best known for his work at Schalke.

Cologne, promoted as second-division champion last season, has lost eight of its 11 games on its return to the Bundesliga, while it was knocked out of the German Cup by fourth-tier Saarbrucken on Oct. 29.

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