AZ Alkmaar Sacks Coach Pascal Jansen Following Narrow Escape in Dutch Cup Against Quick Boys

Discover the behind-the-scenes shakeup at AZ Alkmaar as coach Pascal Jansen exits post a narrow Dutch Cup victory. Get insights into the immediate appointment of Maarten Martens and the team’s quest to regain footing in the Eredivisie.

Dutch football club AZ Alkmaar has announced the immediate dismissal of coach Pascal Jansen, following a close call in the Dutch Cup against amateur club Quick Boys. The decision comes amid AZ’s disappointing results towards the end of 2023 and a challenging start to the new year. Assistant coach Maarten Martens, a former AZ player who won the national championship with the club in 2009, will take over until the end of the season.

The coaching change was not unexpected, considering AZ’s recent struggles. In their first match of the Eredivisie’s second half, AZ suffered a 2-1 defeat to FC Twente, leaving them in fourth place in the league. The team is currently six points behind the second-placed Feyenoord and four points behind third-placed FC Twente. The top two teams in the Eredivisie directly qualify for the Champions League group stage next season.

On Tuesday evening, AZ narrowly avoided an embarrassing early exit from the Dutch Cup, securing a victory on penalties against amateur third-division side Quick Boys.

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Pascal Jansen took over as AZ coach in December 2020, succeeding Arne Slot, who is now the coach of Feyenoord. Under Jansen’s leadership, AZ achieved third place in 2021, fifth in 2022, and fourth in 2023 in the Eredivisie. The 2022-2023 season saw AZ reach the semifinals of the UEFA Conference League. However, this season marked a setback as AZ failed to advance beyond the group stage of the Conference League.

The club has entrusted Maarten Martens, a 39-year-old Belgian who coached AZ’s second team for the past two seasons, with the interim coaching role. As AZ aims to navigate through a challenging period, Martens, with his prior connection to the club as a player and his coaching experience, will be tasked with guiding the team until the end of the season. The decision to part ways with Jansen reflects the club’s commitment to addressing its recent performance struggles.

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