1. FC Köln have parted ways with head coach Peter Stöger 14 games into the 2017/18 Bundesliga season with the club yet to register a win.
The 51-year-old Austrian joined Köln from Austria Wien in 2013 and promptly led Die Geissboecke to promotion, back to the German top flight.
He improved the club’s top-flight position year on year and last term secured fifth place and a spot in the Europa League.
But following a disastrous start to the current campaign – three draws and 11 losses – the club made the decision to dispense with Stöger, and install Stefan Ruthenbeck in a caretaker capacity.
A statement from the Bundesliga side read: “After an in-depth analysis of the situation, 1. FC Köln and head coach Peter Stöger have mutually agreed to terminate the contract of Peter Stöger, which was set to run until June 2020.
“Assistant coach Manfred Schmid will be parting ways with the club as well.
“U19 coach Stefan Ruthenbeck will take over First Team duties until the winter break. His coaching staff will include Kevin McKenna and Markus Daun, as well as current goalkeeping coach Alexander Bade.”
Stöger guided Köln to a 2-2 draw with Schalke on Saturday, but it wasn’t enough to see him keep his job.
FC President Werner Spinner added: “Our responsibility is to try everything in order to stay up in the league.
“Until recently, we hoped that we could do this in the constellation with Peter, his staff, and this team.
“Despite the positive result against Schalke, we unfortunately no longer have this conviction. This is why, in the current situation, it is important to bring a stimulus into the position of head coach, despite this being a very difficult and heavy decision for us to make.”
And Stöger, himself, said: “It was clear to us on Friday that the Schalke match would be our last.
“We decided to wait until Sunday to communicate this in order to fully concentrate on the match.
“It is in the best interest of the club and especially the team that a decision was made and clarity restored.
“To the players, the staff at the club, the fans, and the city of Cologne: you have grown dear to the hearts of Manni Schmid and I, and we will keep our fingers crossed that my successor manages to keep FC Köln in the Bundesliga.”