Vissel Kobe on Saturday named former Hamburger SV boss Thorsten Fink as the new manager of the J-League first division club, taking over from Takayuki Yoshida.

The 51-year-old German takes the reins with Vissel languishing in 13th place in the J1 table after 14 games. Spaniard Juan Manuel Lillo stepped down as manager in a shock move in April, with Yoshida, a former manager and player with the club, appointed as caretaker.


Fink most recently managed Grasshopper Zurich in the Swiss first division, but was fired in March before the club were relegated for the first time in 68 years. He previously led FK Austria Wien in the Austrian top flight. His career as a player included 150 games for Bayern Munich.

Owned by Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten Inc., Vissel have tried to establish themselves as the J-League's glamor club by signing such big name stars as Andres Iniesta and former Barcelona teammate David Villa last year.

But after flirting with relegation last year, Vissel have had little success so far this season. Their struggles on the field have included a nine-game league and league cup losing streak spanning April and June.