Bundesliga strugglers Schalke have sacked five members of football staff, including head coach Christian Gross and sporting director Jochen Schneider.
A 5-1 loss to Stuttgart on Saturday followed a 4-0 defeat to fierce rivals Borussia Dortmund on February 20.
Schalke have won just two games in all competitions since November, lost seven of their past nine matches and only scored two goals since January 24.
Their alarming form has left them bottom of the Bundesliga with just nine points from 23 matches during a chaotic season in which they have had already had four different head coaches.
Gross took over from Manuel Baum at the end of December, with David Wagner and Huub Stevens having previously been in charge.
After picking up just five points in 2021 and having been knocked out of the DFB-Pokal by Wolfsburg, Schalke have taken drastic action in a bid to arrest their decline while planning for life in the second tier in 2021-22.
Gross has been dismissed along with assistants Rainer Widmayer and Werner Leuthard, while team manager Sascha Riether also departs.
Sporting director Jochen Schneider, who was due to leave at the end of his contract in June, has also agreed to step down with immediate effect.
Technical director Peter Knabel will assume temporary charge of sporting affairs, supported by under-19 coach Norbert Elgert and Mike Buskens, with athletic coaches to lead first-team training from Monday until a new head coach is appointed.
In a statement, chairman Jens Buchta said: “The decisions taken have become inevitable after the disappointing performances against Dortmund and Schalke.
“Let’s not beat about the bush: the sporting situation is clear, so we have to think beyond the end of the season for every staff decision that now has to be made.
“At the same time, the team is now obliged to play the final third of the current season as well as they possibly can. They owe this to the club and the fans.”
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