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Taking New Momentum Into 2024/25

New Leadership for Men's First Team

Wed, 26. June 2024
Taking New Momentum Into 2024/25

1. FC Union Berlin are starting preparations for the 2024/25 season with a new sporting management team. Today, Wednesday 26 June, Horst Heldt, Managing Director of Men's Professional Football, and Head Coach Bo Svensson were officially introduced by Union President Dirk Zingler at the Alte Försterei.

"At the start of our sixth Bundesliga season, I would like to welcome Horst Heldt and Bo Svensson to the Alte Försterei. I'm delighted that they decided to join Union at an early stage to give us the security in our plans," said President Zingler on the arrival of the new pair.

"Both know that our aim is to inspire people and, of course, to keep Union in the Bundesliga," he continued. "They are prepared for this and now it's time to put it into practice. I wish them both a lot of joy and, of course, every success." 

"The last few weeks have been characterised by an intensive exchange with the executive committee and Oliver Ruhnert," said Heldt from behind his podium in the Alte Försterei. "I'm delighted that things are now officially getting underway, because we have some exciting and challenging weeks ahead of us. Our aim is to make rapid progress with the squad planning for the coming season in order to give the team and the new coaching team as much time as possible to work together on the pitch." 

Next to him was a delighted Svensson, who explained his hopes and plans. "I'm a coach and I love working with the players on the pitch. After a break of several months, I'm absolutely ready to get going again and can hardly wait. It was important to me that the coaching team was complete at the start, and we've achieved that. We'll start working with the team on Monday so that we're well prepared for the new season." 

The coaching team

In addition to head coach Svensson, there are three other new additions to his coaching team.

Babak Keyhanfar - assistant coach

As he did during his spells with the Mainz youth team and later with the first team, as well as at FC Liefering, Svensson's long-time assistant coach Babak Keyhanfar is following in his mentor's footsteps and will join him in taking on the task ahead in Köpenick. The 39-year-old holds a UEFA B licence and has now made 241 appearances as a coach's right-hand man, 157 of those under the guidance of Svensson.

From 2014 to 2016, the Mainz native was also head coach himself and was responsible for the U19s and the professionals of SV Gonsenheim in the Rheinland Pfalz/Saar Oberliga.

In addition to Keyhanfar's experience, Svensson can also now rely on the advice of UEFA Pro Licence holder Kristoffer Wichmann. This is the 43-year-old Dane's first appointment as assistant coach. Most recently, he was head coach at Kolding IF in Denmark's second division and finished the reigning third division title-holders' season in a strong fifth place. It is also worth noting that Wichmann paused his playing career in November 2018 to help out as a coach at his former club, Hellerup IK.

Tijan Njie - match analyst

Tijan Njie is another long-standing colleague of Bo Svensson's who is following the Dane's call to Berlin, having already worked together in Mainz, initially in the youth programme and later also in the first team's coaching set up.

  • Remaining on board are:
  • Goalkeeping coach Michael Gspurning (currently with the Austrian national team at the EUROs)
  • Athletic coach Martin Krüger
  • Rehabilitation coach Johannes Thienel

On Monday, 1 July, the first team squad will begin their preparations with performance tests. Their first joint training session is scheduled for Wednesday, 3 July at 10 a.m. at the Alte Försterei training ground.