AZ Alkmaar fires coach Ronald Koeman

Defending Dutch league champion AZ Alkmaar fired coach Ronald Koeman on Saturday after the team’s poor first half of the season.

The announcement came after AZ lost at home to Vitesse Arnhem 2-1, leaving the team in sixth place. AZ also failed to reach the knockout stage of the Champions League.

“The board and directors see no further basis for cooperating” with Koeman, the club said in a statement on its Web site.

Koeman was appointed in the offseason to replace Louis van Gaal, who moved to Bayern Munich after leading AZ to its first league title in 28 years.

There was no immediate comment from Koeman, who had a contract with AZ through 2011.

Koeman was fired by Valencia in April 2008 after just five months in charge despite leading the team to the Copa del Rey title. He joined Valencia after winning the Dutch league title with PSV in 2007. He also won two league championships with Ajax.

AZ said the club’s other trainers would take over Koeman’s work until a replacement is appointed.