After VfL Wolfsburg fell to a 2-1 defeat to fellow northern strugglers SV Werder Bremen on Friday, it was clear that the days of Valerien Ismael as coach of the Wolves were soon to be numbered.
On Sunday, the club officially announced that that was indeed the case. Then on Monday, they already presented his successor: Andries Jonker.
The Dutchman is no stranger to the German Bundesliga, or indeed to Wolfsburg. In 2009, Bayern Munich hired him as Louis van Gaal’s assistant coach. After the latter’s firing less than two seasons later, Andries Jonker took over the head coaching job at the Bavarian giants on an interim basis.
He liberated that team from the tactical shackles that van Gaal had placed on it and took them to a third-place finish in the Bundesliga, which that year meant a Champions League qualification place.
Later Jonker went to Wolfsburg, first as assistant coach to Felix Magath and then to interim coach Lorenz-Günther Köstner, as the German sports magazine “Kicker” reports.
They further state that Jonker’s points-per-game average is the highest of all coaches who coached more than one game in the Bundesliga (2.6 in five matches). Kicker also says that the new coach at Wolfsburg was last active in the youth department at Arsenal.
The Dutchman’s mission for the rest of this season is clear: keep the Bundesliga champions of 2009 and runners-up of 2015 in the top division, where they have been every year since the 1997/98 season.
This term, Jonker is the third coach at Wolfsburg after Dieter Hecking and the above-mentioned Ismael.
The team should be far too good to go down, in terms of the quality of their squad. Yet, journalists and commentators all over the soccer world, have given that label to numerous clubs before, only to be proven wrong later.