Dutt to replace Heynckes at Leverkusen

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BERLIN - Coach Jupp Heynckes will leave Bayer Leverkusen at the end of the season and is considering an offer to return to Bayern Munich, he said on Monday.

Heynckes, who will be replaced at Leverkusen by Freiburg boss Robin Dutt, said he had yet to decide whether to return to struggling Bundesliga champions Bayern once Louis van Gaal leaves at the end of this campaign.

"I have not said yes and no negotiations have taken place with Bayern until now," he said in a statement, adding Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge had called him "to offer the position".

"Then I also talked with my good friend (Bayern president) Uli Hoeness."

Heynckes' most recent of two stints at Bayern was in 2009 when he took over for the last five games of the season to help them clinch second spot and Champions League qualification after the sacking of Juergen Klinsmann.

Dutchman Van Gaal, who succeeded Heynckes in 2009 and led Bayern to the domestic double and Champions League final last year, has paid the price for a trophy-dry season this term by agreeing to leave a year before his contract was due to expire.

Heynckes had earlier pledged his commitment to ensuring a strong finish this season for Leverkusen, where he has spent two seasons.

"Leverkusen is a well managed club with a great team and it was difficult taking this decision," the 65-year-old said in an earlier statement.

"I will do everything so we finish second in the league and qualify directly for the Champions League."

Dutt has signed a two-year contract at Leverkusen, who are in second place, seven points behind leaders Borussia Dortmund and five ahead of third-paced Hanover 96 with seven games left.

"Robin Dutt was always going to be our first choice to succeed Heynckes whether in 2011 or 2012," said Leverkusen sports director Rudi Voeller.

Dutt, 46, steered Freiburg to promotion to the Bundesliga two years ago and they have been impressively consistent this season, lying in eighth place with a chance of a European spot.

"I am looking forward to the challenge that is Leverkusen," said Dutt. "Bayer's philosophy is in line with my views on football."

Marcus Sorg, who coaches Freiburg's reserves, will take over the senior team when Dutt leaves, the club said.