Borussia Dortmund have sacked head coach Peter Bosz and installed former Cologne boss Peter Stoger as his replacement until the end of the season.
Dortmund won six of their opening seven league games to top the table in a highly promising start to Bosz's reign, but after a collapse in their form a 2-1 defeat at home to struggling Werder Bremen on Saturday proved the final straw.
Bosz's men contrived to throw away a 4-0 lead to draw in the Revierderby against Schalke in their previous home game to leave the Dutchman under extreme pressure.
Stoger was linked to the Dortmund post at the end of last season before Bosz was selected as Thomas Tuchel's successor, having led Cologne from 2. Bundesliga to the Europa League.
Herzlich willkommen bei Borussia Dortmund, Peter Stöger! pic.twitter.com/WzkaWw8nCx— Borussia Dortmund (@BVB) December 10, 2017
However, Cologne's form deserted them spectacularly this season and only last weekend they parted company with Stoger, who left the club rooted to the bottom of the Bundesliga on three points and without a top-flight win from 14 matches.
"It's a surprising situation for me as well, but an outstanding opportunity to take the responsibility," Stoger told a news conference.
"I'm very excited to work with this team, in this stadium. It's something special.
"I think [Dortmund chief executive Hans-Joachim] Watzke knows the last four years were pretty good [at Cologne]. I don't think he asked me because of the last few weeks.
"This wasn't planned., I thought about possibly getting a good opportunity in the summer. The situation in Cologne wasn't easy but I wasn't empty or tired. I would have taken a few weeks if the call from BVB hadn't come."
Peter Stöger, sein Co-Trainer Manfred Schmidt sowie Ex-Borusse Jörg Heinrich erhalten einen Vertrag bis zum 30.06.2018. pic.twitter.com/fkJW7kyUUB— Borussia Dortmund (@BVB) December 10, 2017
Stoger's first game in charge comes at Mainz on Tuesday, while a home game at Hoffenheim next weekend and a DFB-Pokal trip to Bayern Munich represent a tough start for the 51-year-old Austrian before Germany's mid-season break.
He added: "We'll have two training sessions before the game on Tuesday. It'll be more about talking to the players. Learning what the problem areas might be, what can be improved off the pitch as well."
A 5-0 demolition of minnows Magdeburg in the DFB-Pokal proved to be Bosz's only victory from his last 13 matches in charge in all competitions, with no clean sheets in the league since September.
They are seventh in the table and 13 points shy of leaders Bayern.
Despite only taking two points from six Champions League group games against Tottenham, Real Madrid and APOEL, Dortmund have qualified for the Europa League in the new year.
"We had a conversation with Peter Bosz over dinner and decided to part with immediate effect. It was very emotional," Watzke said.
"We agreed that it was best to be apart. We would like to thank him again. We still think he's a good coach, only the results have not matched this."
On the new man at the helm, Watzke added: "We're thankful Peter Stoger was ready to help us until the end of the season. He hasn't signed a contract yet.
"Let Peter Stoger work a little, get to know the team. Our aim is to win a few points until Christmas. Then we'll talk about targets.
"Stoger led a continuous development at Cologne. Getting them to fifth place is like winning two championships with bigger clubs – no disrespect to Cologne."
|James Conner shares inspirational text from Aaron Donald after cancer diagnosis|
|ICC orders PCB to pay 60 per cent of BCCI costs after legal dispute|
|Cardinals´ Fitzgerald says Sunday may be final home game|
|Solskjaer to United: Bayern mute Champions League Twitter to avoid 1999 footage|
|I have a future without Manchester United - Mourinho moving on from Old Trafford exit|
|Solskjaer to United: Unlikely second chance after Cardiff calamity|
|Solskjaer to United: ´Ultimate super-sub´ understands our support, say fans|
|Jones and Humphreys to assist incoming Wales head coach Pivac|
|I have nothing to say - Mourinho muted on Manchester United exit|
|Gallen defiant amid Sharks crisis|
|Solskjaer to United: Cardiff stint not relevant to Old Trafford challenge, says Berg|
|Manchester United´s on-field results must improve to maintain commercial strength - sports finance e|
|Rashid and Carey inspire winning start for Strikers|
|Solskjaer to United: Phelan to continue Mariners role during coaching stint|
|Malone: Jokic an MVP contender|
|Solskjaer to United: Returning heroes - the hits and misses|
|Solskjaer to United: Ole´s best moments for United|
|Solskjaer to United: Club writing off two seasons with interim appointment - Fletcher|
|Allen´s LeBron block made statement - Atkinson|
|Solskjaer to United: Molde give blessing for their manager to take job on temporary basis|
|Dragons land Eels playmaker Norman|
|Black Caps tried everything - Williamson|
|Solskjaer to United: Red Devils´ interim boss in numbers|
|Solskjaer to United: Other Ferguson pupils who became teachers|
|Manchester United appoint Solskjaer until end of season|
|Kane a doubt for north London derby|
|Mourinho sacking changes things – Tuchel|
|Nets top Lakers in Brooklyn, extend winning streak to six games|
|LeBron on Lakers potentially acquiring Davis: That would be amazing|
|Rain helps Sri Lanka claim draw against New Zealand|
|Mourinho had to ´take the consequences´, says Klopp|
|Ausilio: Icardi has offer on table, won´t be sold to Juve|
|Chargers lead NFL Pro Bowl selections, Brees named NFC starting QB|
|Pro Bowl 2019: Chargers lead NFL with 7 selections, Drew Brees named NFC starting QB|
|Savea re-signs with All Blacks, Hurricanes|
|Flanagan facing de-registration as Sharks, Tigers cop huge fines|
|Napoli rejected £95m offer for Koulibaly amid United links – De Laurentiis|
|Kovac feels for axed United boss Mourinho|
|Rabiot, we do not need you – PSG fans respond to wantaway midfielder|
|Guardiola hails assured debut from Man City youngster Garcia|
|He´s very happy at Tottenham – Arsenal boss Emery wants Pochettino to reject Manchester United|
|Rams sign RB C.J. Anderson|
|Good luck with the Red Devils - Norway PM´s message for Solskjaer|
|Pogba was ´dancing on the grave´ of Mourinho - Neville|
|Solskjaer set to replace Mourinho after Man United gaffe|
|City signing Steffen up to Guardiola´s goalkeeper demands, says Berhalter|
|Mourinho is so strong - Guardiola backing for fallen rival|
|Mourinho? Ausilio dismisses Inter return after United sacking|
|Whyte needs to raise his game to beat Chisora again - Haye|
|Brussino leads late Tenerife rally as Venezia down Holon|
|Orleans 1 Paris Saint-Germain 2: Super sub Diaby sends holders through|
|Leicester City 1 Manchester City 1 (1-3 on penalties): Muric stands tall in poor shoot-out|
|Middlesbrough 0 Burton Albion 1: League One side reach semi-finals|
|Bologna 0 AC Milan 0: Bakayoko sent off as Inzaghi claims point against former side|
|Fortuna Dusseldorf 2 Borussia Dortmund 1: Bundesliga leaders suffer shock first loss|
|Rivera yet to make a call on sitting Panthers QB Newton|
|Pulisic would thrive in Premier League, but Berhalter expects Dortmund stay|
|Raptors coach Nurse fined by NBA for criticising referees|
|Solari ´loves´ struggling Real Madrid star Isco|
|Mourinho sacked: Pogba, Lukaku, Fred and his other Man United signings rated|
|Mourinho sacked: What does it mean for Manchester United players?|
|Ibrahimovic provides short-term pain, long-term gain for US - Berhalter|
|River Plate 2 Al Ain 2 (aet, 4-5 on penalties): Perez misses decisive spot kick|
|De Bruyne and Aguero back for City, surprise debut for Garcia|
|Uncapped Varun ´panicked a little´ after huge IPL deal|
|Replays scrapped for FA Cup fifth round|
|Pochettino readies big guns for Gunners|
|Ex-Wasps star Wade struggling with NFL transition|
|BCCI rejects ´baseless´ claims over Kohli-Paine ´banter´|
|Ibrahimovic re-signs with LA Galaxy for 2019|