Bayer Leverkusen have parted company with head coach Sami Hyypia following a poor run of form.
The Finn took the reins at the Bayer Arena on a permanent basis alongside Sascha Lewandowski in May 2012 after a period in temporary charge following the dismissal of predecessor Robin Dutt.
Hyypia and Lewandowski subsequently led Leverkusen to qualification for the UEFA Champions League in their first full season in joint charge by finishing third last term.
The former Liverpool defender took sole charge ahead of the 2013-14 campaign, and the club enjoyed a solid first half to the Bundesliga season, appearing to be on course to challenge for second position behind runaway leaders Bayern Munich.
However, a run of just one victory in nine league matches – along with elimination in the last 16 of the Champions League by Paris Saint-Germain – has seen those hopes diminish and a 2-1 loss at relegation-threatened Hamburg on Friday proved to be the final straw for Hyypia.
Lewandowski, who moved to manage Leverkusen’s youth team last year, will take over until at least the end of the season.
Explaining the decision, managing director Michael Schade told Leverkusen’s official website: “After careful consideration and in the face of the crisis we have come to believe that, at present, only a change in team leadership can bring about the urgently needed change.
“I thank Sami Hyypia deeply for his dedicated work in recent years.”
Lewandowski added: “For me it is not an easy situation to take Sami’s place. For more than a year we jointly carried responsibility for this team.
“(I) regret my former partner was not able to realise his ideas. But as an employee of the club, I am also responsible for the needs of the current job.
“We will do everything to bring this season to a successful end.”
Leverkusen currently sit fourth in the final Champions League spot, but can be overtaken this weekend by Wolfsburg and Borussia Monchengladbach, who both play later on Saturday.
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