Former Crystal Palace defender takes over at Bundesliga giants Wolfsburg

Valerien Ismael

Valerien Ismael will have his work cut out if he is to salvage a disastrous start to the season in his first managerial role.

Valerien Ismael

Former Crystal Palace defender Valerien Ismael has been announced as the new coach of Bundesliga strugglers Wolfsburg following the inevitable sacking of Dieter Hecking, according to ESPN.

The Wolves finished second behind Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich two seasons ago, a free-flowing, counter-attacking machine headlined by Kevin De Bruyne (below) battering the usually unconquerable Bavarians 4-1 at the Volkswagen Arena in January 2015.

VfL Wolfsburg's Kevin De Bruyne challenges Napoli's Raul Albiol (L)

However, following the talismanic Belgian’s club-record £55 million switch to Manchester City the following summer, as reported by the BBC, Wolfsburg failed to build on their promising title charge, slipping meekly into mid table last season.

And, after a similarly disastrous start to the current campaign which yielded just one win in seven Bundesliga fixtures, Hecking (below) has paid with his job after almost four inconsistent years in charge, headlined by a DFB Pokal final victory against Jurgen Klopp’s Dortmund at the end of 2014/15.

Wolfsburg coach Dieter Hecking before the match

Consequently, the club’s under-23 coach, Ismael, has now been promoted to the job top on an interim basis.

The 41-year-old, who played just 13 games for Palace in 1998 despite arriving as their record signing, has inherited a talented yet under-performing squad including Germany international striker Mario Gomez, highly-rated left-back Ricardo Rodriguez and effervescent play-maker Julian Draxler.

Valerien Ismael

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