Facing a four-team repechage for a place at the Rugby World Cup, Germany have hired Mike Ford, the former England and British Lions defence coach and Bath and Toulon head coach.
"I am delighted that I now have the opportunity to develop such an ambitious team as Germany, and possibly even lead them to a World Cup for the first time," said Ford in German Rugby Federation (DRV) statement.
Ford will be charged with plotting the country’s course through November’s Rugby World Cup Repechage and towards Japan 2019.
The former Bath and Toulon boss has signed an initial contract until the end of November, with an option to extend should Germany qualify for the World Cup. He will work alongside director of rugby Kobus Potgieter, who has previously served as head coach, and defence and forwards coach Mouritz Botha.
Ford, who has taken a sabbatical from prospective Major League Rugby franchise Dallas Griffins, has already arrived in Germany and will run the rule over his new players during a training camp in Heidelberg.
Germany will play Kenya Simbas alongside two other nations in November in the 2019 Rugby World Cup repechage tournament. .
Germany have another chance to qualify for a maiden World Cup in the repechage competition in Marseille. They play Hong Kong on 11 November, Canada on 17 November and Kenya on 23 November.
"Of course it is a big challenge, but that is what makes this task so attractive," Ford said. "I think that this national team has a lot of potential."
Germany, whose front-line players and coaching staff all stood down at the end of 2017 in a dispute with the federation, finished fifth, and last, in the final, scandal-hit, European qualifying group for teams outside the Six Nations.
They were promoted to second, behind Russia, after Belgium, Spain and Romania suffered points deductions for fielding ineligible players.
The DRV stressed in the statement that German-born Swiss businessman Hans-Peter Wild, the owner of Stade Francais in the French Top 14, had given financial support to help "exploit this unique opportunity." They said they had hired Ford "with immediate effect."
Germany’s domestic-based player have gathered in Heidelberg and will remain in camp until the tournament in Marseille.