Gladbach decides on coaching change for next season

MOENCHENGLADBACH, Germany (AP) — Borussia Moenchengladbach is looking for a new coach after deciding to replace Dieter Hecking after this season.

Hecking’s contract expires in June and the Bundesliga club said Tuesday it will not give him a new deal. Hecking took over in December 2016 and led the side to ninth-place finishes in 2017 and 2018.

“It was one of the most difficult decisions in my managerial career,” Gladbach sporting director Max Eberl said. “It is purely strategic and has nothing to do with the present situation.”

Gladbach has only one win from its last seven Bundesliga games and dropped out of the top four for the first time since September after a 3-1 loss at Fortuna Duesseldorf on Saturday.

Only the top four qualify for the Champions League.

Hecking was praised for the team’s performances earlier in the season when it won its first nine home games but had been coming under increasing pressure, especially after a 5-1 loss to Bayern Munich last month.

“It was a massive disappointment for me yesterday,” Hecking said of being informed of the club’s decision. “But when a sporting director like Max says that it’s better to continue working with another coach, then that’s the way it is. That’s his right and of course I accept it.”

Hecking said he would continue to give everything for the team to achieve its objectives this season.

Gladbach next faces a visit from in-form Werder Bremen on Sunday.

Hecking, who formerly coached Wolfsburg and Nuremberg, is unlikely to be out of work for long. Schalke and Wolfsburg will also be looking for coaches next season.

Hecking previously said he would like to return home, where Hannover is currently battling relegation with both coach Thomas Doll and general manager Horst Heldt on the verge of leaving.