|20 March 2013|
BASKETBALL IN EUROPE
|Vilnius was where the last game of Dirk Bauermann as Germany head coach took place|
Polish national team head coach Dirk Bauermann will be in charge of Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius until the end of the season, the Lithuanian club announced on Wednesday.
The German tactician takes over the reins with immediate effect and, according to the club's statement, the agreement between the two parties includes the possibility to extend their collaboration into next season too.
Bauermann replaces at the helm Darius Maskoliunas, who had in turn been promoted to head coach when the Vilnius club decided in October to part ways with Aleksandar Dzikic.
That development had come shortly after the start of the second season in the Serbian U20 national team head coach's tenure at Vilnius.
"We had hoped that if Maskoliunas managed the team instead of Dzikic, Vilnius fans would not be disappointed but, as the results show, our expectations have not been fulfilled," club president Gedvydas Vainauskas said on Wednesday.
"There was an inconsistency between the club management's and the coach's approach to the game and training process goals," he added.
Lietuvos Rytas did not manage to qualify to the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Last 16 under Maskoliunas, while they stand in seventh place in VTB United league Group A and are close to falling out of contention for a place in the Final Four of that competition.
The Vilnius club however still hope that they can overtake domestic arch-rivals Zalgiris Kaunas in the race for the Lithuanian league title, and that will be Bauermann's main assignment in the next couple of months.
The 56-year-old German coach brings along a silverware-laden CV at club level, as he led TSV Bayer 04 Leverkusen in seven Bundesliga titles within just nine seasons, after being handed the reins of the club in 1989.
Bauermann took over at Brose Baskets Bamberg in 2001 and helped transform the Bavarian club into the dominant force they are today, adding two more domestic league titles to his trophy case.
He was then put in charge of the ambitious new project of FC Bayern Munich in 2010 and led the club into the top division of German basketball before parting ways with the Bavarian powerhouse abruptly at the start of the current season.
Life in Vilnius will not be the first experience outside the German borders for Poland's head coach as he has worked in other leagues before, namely in Belgium with Oostende and in Greece, with Apollon Patras and BC Daphni.
The German coach agreed terms with the Polish Basketball Federation (PZKosz) to guide the national team of the country to EuroBasket 2013 two months prior to signing with Lietuvos Rytas, on 18 January, and his engagement with PZKosz will not be affected by Wednesday's development.
He has successfully combined club jobs with busy summers at international level before, as he is mostly known outside Germany for his work with the national team of his native country.
Bauermann was briefly put in charge of Germany during the 1994 World Championship, stepping in for Svetislav Pesic.
He returned in September 2004 and during his second stint, that lasted until the end of EuroBasket 2011, he led Germany to the silver medal at EuroBasket 2005, where superstar Dirk Nowitzki was named MVP of the competition.