Bayer Leverkusen fired Robin Dutt as coach on Sunday following the side’s fifth consecutive loss.
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Former Leverkusen defender Sami Hyypia and the Bundesliga club’s under-19 coach Sascha Lewandowski will take over until the end of the season.
”I know the team and firmly believe in them,” said the 38-year-old Hyypia, who also played for Liverpool for 10 years and was capped 105 times for Finland.
Hyypia said he and Lewandowski, who is two years older, want to show his former teammates ”ways for Bayer Leverkusen to get back on track for success.”
Leverkusen sporting director Rudi Voeller and managing director Wolfgang Holzhaeuser lost patience with the 47-year-old Dutt after Saturday’s 2-0 loss at home to his former side Freiburg.
It was Leverkusen’s fourth Bundesliga loss in a row and the latest in a disastrous run that started with a 7-1 thrashing by Barcelona in the Champions League.
Dutt had taken over after his predecessor, Jupp Heynckes, who led Leverkusen to second place last season, left for Bayern Munich last summer.
Dutt’s assistant coaches Damir Buric and Marco Langner were also released.
”We simply had to act and set a marker to reach our season’s goal of international competition,” Holzhaeuser said.
Leverkusen is sixth in the Bundesliga on goal difference and fighting for a Europa League place. It could end the weekend in seventh with ninth-place Hannover playing Borussia Moenchengladbach on Sunday.
”With the Hyypia, Lewandowski team we want to turn things around and get back on track. The team is now under greater obligation. We demand more at Bayer,” Voeller said.
Dutt is the seventh Bundesliga coach to be fired this season following the sackings of Markus Babbel and Michael Skibbe at Hertha Berlin, Marcus Sorg at Freiburg, Michael Oenning at Hamburger SV, Holger Stanislawski at Hoffenheim and most recently Marco Kurz at Kaiserslautern. Another coach, Ralf Rangnick, resigned from Schalke to seek treatment for burnout.