FC Bayern München have confirmed that coach Louis van Gaal will step down at the end of the campaign after three defeats in a week all but erased their hopes of domestic silverware this season.
Saturday's 3-1 Bundesliga loss at Hannover 96 completed a miserable eight days which had begun with a home defeat by runaway league leaders Borussia Dortmund. In between, their German Cup defence ended in the semi-finals at the hands of FC Schalke 04 and, with the team lying fifth in the table and 19 points adrift of Dortmund, the focus now switches to securing a UEFA Champions League place for next term via a top-three finish.
It is the first time in ten years that Bayern have lost three successive matches, and following a meeting on Monday the Munich club said Van Gaal would leave on 30 June by mutual consent. "The reason for the contract's cancellation is a difference in opinion regarding the club's direction," the statement added.
The Bavarian giants' European ambitions are very much alive this year, however, and they welcome FC Internazionale Milano to the Fußball Arena München on 15 March leading 1-0 from the first leg. Van Gaal guided Bayern to last season's final, and a defeat by the Nerazzurri, during the 59-year-old's first campaign at the helm.
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