Bayern close in on van Gaal

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The Independent Online

Bayern Munich are reportedly close to confirming the appointment of Louis van Gaal as their new coach for next season.

Van Gaal, 57, has led AZ Alkmaar to the Dutch title this season and his exploits in the Eredivisie has led to interest from the German giants.



The former Ajax, Barcelona and Netherlands coach is reported to have agreed terms at the Allianz Arena to succeed the sacked Jurgen Klinsmann in July.



However, AZ president Dirk Scheringa is adamant that van Gaal will be staying with his club.



"Louis is under contract until 2010," he said. "I'm not worried about anything as van Gaal is a man of principle who always respects his contracts."



Meanwhile, interim Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes has played down his side's title hopes, despite the Bavarian giants moving level on points with leaders Wolfsburg.



Bayern won 3-1 at Energie Cottbus on Saturday, while the Wolves suffered a 4-1 thrashing at Stuttgart to set up a grandstand finish to the Bundesliga campaign.



However, a cautious Heynckes said: "If you look at the league table then you can see that a win was immensely important.



"Four or five teams are all packed tightly up there. Our aim of qualifying for the Champions League directly is still possible thanks to this victory.



"My team has also taken a step forward with its performance and played good football for long spells."



Werder Bremen's director of sport, Klaus Allofs, has played down rumours linking coach Thomas Schaaf with the manager's job at Wolfsburg.



Wolfsburg are in need of a new leader after Felix Magath agreed to take over at Schalke next season, but Allofs insists that Schaaf is going nowhere.



He told the club's official website: “Thomas Schaaf still has a year on his contract with us and we will work together in the coming year.



"We have spoken about this topic and, from this talk, it was clear that no one has to worry that such a switch could be imminent.



"We have worked together for ten years and that will remain the case. End of. I cannot confirm any approach, but I could understand other clubs if they had an interest.



"It is clear that clubs who are currently on the look-out for a coach have to make contact and hold talks or ask questions. That is completely normal."

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