Sami Hyypia to take sole charge at Bayer Leverkusen next season

Former Liverpool defender Sami Hyypia is to take sole charge of Champions League qualifiers Bayer Leverkusen.

Hyypia, 39, will guide the Bundesliga side on his own next term after it was announced co-trainer Sascha Lewandowski will move to the youth teams.

Finland international Hyypia made more than 300 Premier League appearances during a decade-long stay at Anfield.

Coaching harder than playing - Hyypia

He retired as a player while at Bayer in 2011, and led the German club to a third-place finish this season.

"Sascha [Lewandowski] will continue to have a direct influence on the future look of our Bundesliga team, which will be led by a strong coaching team around Sami Hyypia next season," sporting director Rudi Voller said. 

Hyypia was an unheralded £2.5m signing when he joined Liverpool from Dutch side Willem II Tilburg in 1999. But the giant Finn went on to establish himself as one of the best defenders in the club's history, before moving to Bayer 10 years later.

During his time on Merseyside, he was part of a team who won an historic FA Cup, League Cup and Uefa Cup treble in 2001.

As well as claiming one other League Cup and FA Cup, his finest moment was to come in 2005 when he was part of the side that came back from 3-0 down in the Champions League final to beat AC Milan on penalties.

Hyypia was appointed as co-trainer with the BayArena outfit last summer, helping to earn a return to Europe's premier club competition after a year's hiatus.