Bayer 04 Leverkusen have parted company with coach Sami Hyypiä in the wake of Friday's 2-1 defeat at Hamburger SV, with youth coach Sascha Lewandowski taking command for the remainder of the season.
"This was a really difficult decision for us as Sami has done a great job in the past two years," sporting director Rudi Völler said. "What he achieved with the team in the first half of the season far exceeded expectations and earned great praise from all sides. That makes this even more painful. The dramatic developments over the past few weeks leave us no other choice but to part company. We have to do all we can to save our season."
Leverkusen started the season well under 40-year-old former defender Hyypiä, and were second behind FC Bayern München at the halfway point in the Bundesliga. However, they have won just one of their last ten domestic matches, plus both legs of their UEFA Champions League round of 16 games against Paris Saint-Germain, and lie fourth in the German table.
"It's not easy for me to take over from Sami," said Lewandowski, 42. "We were jointly in charge of this team for a whole year, and it is a pity when your former partner is unable to achieve his targets. However, as an employee of this club, I also have a responsibility to meet the current challenge. We will do everything we can to end this season on a high."
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