Likely candidate: Former Australian coach Holger Osieck could be headed to China. Photo: Getty Images
Former Socceroos boss Holger Osieck could be back in Australia for next year's Asian Cup after being touted as favourite to become China's next coach.
Chinese websites have linked the 65-year-old to the position three months after he was sacked as Socceroos manager.
The German is determined to coach at international level and was reportedly furious at being dumped by Football Federation Australia after guiding the side through the qualification phase for this year's World Cup.
Ranked 92nd in the world, China have an opportunity to salvage their reputation by qualifying for the 2015 Asian Cup with just a single match to play. They need only a draw against Iraq in Doha in their final group match on March 5 to qualify for a tournament in which they have twice previously finished as runners-up. Even if they lose, they would likely qualify as the best third-placed team due to a strong goal difference.
China had been expected to appoint Guangzhou Evergrande coach Marcello Lippi to the national position after continental and domestic success, but he has instead stayed with the club, now regarded as Asia's richest and most powerful side.
China have been without a permanent coach since parting company with Spaniard Jose Antonio Camacho, instead using Fu Bo on an interim basis for the past year in the hope Lippi would eventually sign on. However, that now appears extremely unlikely, leading the Chinese Football Association to look elsewhere.
Last July, Osieck oversaw Australia's 4-3 loss to China in Seoul, a match that condemned the Socceroos to last place in the East Asian Cup.
However, his experience in world football - having also coached in the Bundesliga, the J-League and guiding Canada to success at the 2007 Gold Cup - is thought to have appealed to Chinese authorities.
China have had a German manager in charge once before, Klaus Schlappner, who in 1992 became the nation's first foreign coach since the 1950s.
Since leaving the Socceroos post, Osieck has returned to living in Germany.
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