14.09.2021 15:57 h

Turkey to hire German U-21 coach Kuntz: media

Turkey will hire Germany's Under-21 coach Stefan Kuntz as the team's new manager in an effort to revive their stalled World Cup 2022 qualifying campaign, media reports said Tuesday.

The football federation parted ways Friday with Senol Gunes after Turkey got thumped by the Netherlands 6-1 -- one of the team's worst losses in its history.

The private DHA news agency and other Turkish media said the federation had reached an agreement in principle with Kuntz.

The 58-year-old German was spotted heading into Istanbul Airport after a reported meeting with Turkish football bosses about the deal's terms.

The federation issued no immediate statement.

The football-mad nation held out high hopes for the 69-year-old Gunes -- who guided Turkey to the 2002 World Cup semi-finals -- when he took charge of the team again in 2019.

Turkey appeared to have a good mix of veterans and young talent that performed admirably in qualifiers for the pandemic-delayed Euro 2020.

But they lost all three matches in the tournament while conceding eight goals and scoring just once.

They followed that up with a lacklustre draw against Montenegro and a 3-0 victory against lowly Gibraltar before being humiliated by the Dutch last Tuesday.

Turkey are sitting third behind the Netherlands and Norway in World Cup qualifying Group F.

Kuntz has previously been mentioned as a possible successor to Germany's World Cup winning manager Joachim Loew.

The job eventually went to Hansi Flick but Loew has had high praise for Kuntz's "excellent work" as Germany's Under-21 coach.

Kuntz was part of the Germany team which won the European championships in 1996 and won the Under-21 European championships as coach in 2017.

He also scored nine goals during a spell with Istanbul's Besiktas in 1995-96.