Soccer-Bayern Munich coach Flick wants to leave at end of season

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WOLFSBURG, Germany (Reuters) -Bayern Munich coach Hansi Flick said on Saturday he had told the team and club bosses that he wanted to leave the German champions at the end of the season despite his contract running until 2023.

The former Germany assistant coach, who initially took over on an interim basis in November 2019, led the club to a spectacular winning run that earned them six domestic and international titles in the following months, including the Champions League and the club World Cup crown.

He is the only Bayern coach ever to win six titles in a season and among the world's most successful given his short spell at the club.

"The situation is I told the team today that I informed the club during the week that I wanted to get out of my contract at the end of the season," Flick said after his team's 3-2 victory over VfL Wolfsburg.

The 56-year-old had been at odds with sports director Hasan Salihamdizic in recent months with the coach reportedly wanting a greater say in the club's transfer policy.

"I discussed the issues internally with those responsible in the club," he said. "The reasons will remain internal for now."

Club President Herbert Hainer said earlier this week he was certain Flick would be staying at Bayern.

Long seen as the frontrunner to succeed Joachim Loew as Germany coach after the European Championship in June and July, Flick, who was Loew's assistant when Germany won the 2014 World Cup, said his future had not yet been decided.

"The future is absolutely not clear," he said. "There has been no discussions regarding that. Obviously the (German) FA is an option which every coach has to think about. But this is independent of that. I decided to take this step.

"But I have to digest everything now. The last few weeks were not easy. That is why it was very important to say it to the club and the team."

The news of Flick's departure was not totally unexpected but Bayern captain Manuel Neuer said it was still something the team would need to take in.

"This is a very emotional issue for us all so that we will need to process this as a team," Neuer said. "Because we had a very good and successful time together.

"It was important that he told us that personally before going public. It was a sign of our good relationship."

The Bavarians, who were eliminated by Paris St Germain last week in the Champions League quarter-finals, are seven points clear at the top of the Bundesliga table with five games remaining, on course for a record-extending ninth consecutive league crown.

(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Kevin Liffey and Clare Fallon)