MAINZ, Germany (AP) — Coach Thomas Tuchel is leaving Mainz by his own choice after leading the Bundesliga club to a possible place in the Europa League.
Mainz finished the season on Saturday with a 3-2 win over Hamburger SV to end up seventh and clinch a place in Europa League qualifying.
Managing director Christian Heidel said on Sunday that Mainz will not allow Tuchel to move to another club since he still has a year on his contract.
The club will not rescind the contract although Tuchel will not coach the team, Heidel told a news conference.
"We will find a solution ... You will never hear me say anything against Tuchel," Heidel said, underlining his respect for the outgoing coach.
Tuchel has been at Mainz for five seasons and is one of Germany's most highly regarded young coaches. The 40-year-old coach has been linked with several Bundesliga clubs.
Heidel confirmed that Tuchel has had contacts with Schalke and Bayer Leverkusen.
In a later statement, Tuchel said his contacts with other clubs had never gone far enough to demand a release from his contract in Mainz and that he hoped for a quick solution.
Tuchel said his decision to leave had come in the fall, during a slump, when he considering stepping down. Instead, he concluded that he could lift the team again, but not beyond the end of the season.
"This decision that this would be my last season in Mainz was for me personally a necessary step to be able to positively influence my players and my staff and to coach with a look-ahead approach," Tuchel said.
The coach first told the players about his departure during a party to celebrate a successful season after the final match on Saturday.
Tuchel first told Mainz in January that he wanted to quit at the end of the season and repeated his wish four weeks ago, Heidel said.
Heidel said Mainz was beginning to look for another coach but declined to give any names. With limited financial means but clever management, Mainz has become a Bundesliga success story.
Tuchel is not the first Bundesliga coach to leave at the end of the season. Huub Stevens, who saved Stuttgart from relegation, said on Saturday that he would not return. Eintracht Frankfurt coach Armin Veh is also not returning, in a decision announced earlier in the season.