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The club bid farewell to several players before the final home game of the season against VfL Bochum on Sunday, but there were no flowers for another four. At a news conference on Monday morning, caretaker director of sport Andreas Rettig explained why there was no official send-off for Sami Allagui, Brian Koglin, Alex Meier and Luca Zander and gave an update on the status of the contract negotiations with these four players.

"As we still had a theoretical chance of gaining promotion and his contract would have been extended automatically had we gone up, presenting him with a bouquet and saying farewell before the Bochum game would have been the wrong signal," said Rettig before adding: "We've agreed with Sami that we'll sit down together tomorrow or the day after and reach a joint decision before the end of the week."

Regarding the future of Luca Zander, who joined the club from Werder Bremen on a two-year loan deal, Rettig said: "Having sought the views of the head coach and the new director of sport, we'd like to extend Luca's deal. Luca is a player we'd be happy to continue working with and we'd like to make the move permanent. We've made Werder Bremen a concrete offer and have held good and promising talks with them. It's now a question of how we can do it financially. We're in final contract negotiations with Luca."

Talks are also ongoing with Brian Koglin, who put in a good performance on his first league appearance of the season against Bochum, as Rettig explained: "His contract runs out in summer as we know, but because of the good progress he has made we are actually reconsidering. We're in talks with his agent and the outcome is still up in the air. We may well find a solution, but I can't say yet whether a decision will be made this week or next."

Another player not to receive a farewell bouquet even though his contract is set to expire was Alex Meier. Commenting on the contract negotiations with the player, Rettig said: "Alex is an important personnel matter but we respect his wish not to hold talks until after the final game and will also abide by it."


Photo: Witters


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