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."
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