COLOGNE, Germany (AP) Struggling Cologne parted ways with Peter Stoeger on Sunday after failing to win any of its Bundesliga games this season.
The club said Stoeger’s contract, which was due to run to June 2020, was terminated by mutual agreement and that under-19 coach Stefan Ruthenbeck will take over until the league’s winter break. Assistant coach Manfred Schmid was also leaving.
Stoeger’s last game was Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Schalke, the side’s third point from 14 games. He appeared to say goodbye to his players, training staff and supporters afterward, going to fans in the stadium, taking his hat off and bowing to them before applauding.
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”Stoeger and us have felt in recent days that our joint path was coming to an end, regardless of the result against Schalke,” Cologne managing director Alexander Wehrle said.
Stoeger joined Cologne in 2013 when the side was still in the second division. He led it to promotion in his first season and oversaw steady progress in each of the subsequent seasons in the Bundesliga, culminating in fifth place and Europa League qualification last season.
The Austrian coach was the first to lead Cologne for five successive seasons.
However, injuries, bad luck and poor decisions have all had an effect this season, with the club also failing to make up for the summer departure of top-scorer Anthony Modeste. Modeste scored 25 goals in the Bundesliga last season.
Cologne had only six goals in 14 games this season.
”It is in the best interest of the club and especially the team that a decision was made and clarity restored,” said Stoeger, who said he and Schmid ”will keep our fingers crossed that my successor manages to keep Cologne in the Bundesliga.”