Troubled Hoffenheim appoints Marco Kurz as coach

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SINSHEIM, Germany (AP) -- Hoffenheim has hired Marco Kurz as coach to replace the fired Markus Babbel.

The Bundesliga club announced on Tuesday that Kurz will take over on Jan. 1, assisted by Austrian Guenther Gorenzel, who previously worked with the 43-year-old at Kaiserslautern and 1860 Munich.

Kicker magazine reported Kurz agreed to a deal until June 2014.

He is Hoffenheim's third coach this season after Babbel and interim coach Frank Kramer, who was in charge for two games.

Kramer will resume his duties in charge of the club's under-23 team.

Hoffenheim has lost six games straight and has the worst defense in the Bundesliga with 41 goals conceded. Just three wins from 17 games leaves the side in the relegation playoff place at the halfway stage of the season.

Kurz led Kaiserslautern to Bundesliga promotion in 2010, but was sacked in March in a futile bid to stave off relegation after two seasons.

A former defender, Kurz played 300 Bundesliga games for Stuttgart, Nuremberg, Borussia Dortmund, Schalke and 1860 Munich. He won the title with Dortmund in 1995 and the UEFA Cup with Schalke in 1997.