McClaren out at Wolfsburg
Steve McClaren has today parted company with German side Wolfsburg following a string of poor results.
The Wolves' 1-0 loss to Hannover on Saturday was the club's second on the spin and continued a miserable sequence of just one win in 11 in the German top flight. In 21 games at the helm, McClaren managed just five wins.
The former England boss leaves with the club, champions just two seasons ago, sitting 12th in the 18-team Bundesliga, just one point above the relegation zone. Pierre Littbarski, McClaren's former assistant and a one-time German international, has been named as his replacement.
Wolfsburg chief executive Dieter Hoeness said: "We were not convinced that we could have a stable collaboration with Steve McClaren until the end of the season. We tried it, but unfortunately we have now lost the belief. Following the recent negative results we cannot underestimate our situation in the table."
"Being only one point clear of the relegation places, we are alarmed," he went on. "Now it's just a question of increasing the gap to the relegation places as soon as possible."
Explaining Littbarski's elevation to the hot seat, Hoeness added: "We talked at great length with him. He has convinced us that he will take the necessary measures in our situation."
McClaren has seen his stock plummet in German football after joining Wolfsburg amid much expectation in May last year, fresh from guiding FC Twente to their first ever Dutch title. In joining the Wolves the 49-year-old became the first Englishman to manage in the German top flight, but quickly found that he was unable to replicate the success he had enjoyed in the Netherlands, with Wolfsburg losing his first three league games in charge.
Although the team recovered slightly, wins remained hard to come by and a recent sequence of seven straight league draws underlined their lack of cutting edge. Wolfsburg chairman Dr Francisco Javier Garcia Sanz revealed the club gave McClaren every opportunity to turn their season around, but in the end were forced to act with the Yorkshireman just nine months into a two-year contract.
"We have not seen any alternative," he said. "Of course we all want to see continuity, particularly in the coaching position. Therefore, we have been waiting a long time with the decision. The supervisory board and management now believes, however, that the team cannot continue under Steve McClaren."
McClaren began his managerial career at Middlesbrough in 2001 having earlier had spells as assistant to Jim Smith at Derby and Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United. He enjoyed much success at Middlesbrough, winning the League Cup in 2004 and reaching the final of the UEFA Cup in 2006.
He was subsequently appointed as Sven-Goran Eriksson's successor as England boss in August 2006 but was sacked when the team failed to qualify for UEFA EURO 2008.