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Bundesliga

Bundesliga's Bremen replace Allofs with hockey manager

Bundesliga soccer club Werder Bremen have appointed Thomas Eichin as their new sporting director. The post had been vacant since Klaus Allofs bolted for Wolfsburg in mid-November.

Werder Bremen announced the appointment of Thomas Eichin in a statement posted on their website on Thursday.

"He was on our shortlist from the very beginning and meets all the criteria we had set out," Willi Lemke, the chairman of Bremen's supervisory board said. "He is an experienced negotiator, he knows his way around the Bundesliga, and has proven in ice hockey that he can successfully weather the highs and the lows at the top of a storied club."

The club Lemke referred to is the Cologne Sharks of Germany's top flight ice hockey league, the DEL. Eichin has been with the club for the past 13 years and has been its manager since 2001. On Werder's website, Eichin thanked the Sharks for agreeing to let him out of his contract to pursue what he described as a "unique opportunity to return to football in a very interesting role in such a renowned club."

Eichin, 46, is to remain with Cologne through the end of the current hockey season, before stepping into his new role in Bremen ahead of the next Bundesliga campaign.

Eichin's appointment comes as somewhat of a surprise as it means switching sports for a second time in his career. As he alluded to in the statement, Eichin is a former football player, having made 180 appearances as a defender with Borussia Mönchengladbach between 1985 and 1999. He also played a handful of games with Nuremberg in the second division.

The Freiburg native will replace Klaus Allofs, who surprised many by leaving Werder to join fellow Bundesliga club Wolfsburg on November 14, after spending 13 years in Bremen.