Klaus Augenthaler has been fired by Bayer 04 Leverkusen following the club's worst start to a Bundesliga season in 23 years.
UEFA Cup shock
The BayArena side have taken just four points from their opening four games and last night were on the receiving end of one of the shocks of the UEFA Cup first round, losing 1-0 to Bulgarian visitors PFC CSKA Sofia. Augenthaler, 47, spoke passionately about the state of the club following the defeat, saying: "It is just impossible to sell Diego Placente, Róbson Ponte, Daniel Bierofka and França and still talk about qualifying for the UEFA Champions League."
Those comments irked Leverkusen officials, who have responded by relieving Augenthaler of his duties and appointing sporting director Rudi Völler, a former Leverkusen and Germany coach, on an interim basis as they search for a full-time successor. Former BV Borussia Dortmund and VfB Stuttgart coach Matthias Sammer, out of work since being replaced by Giovanni Trapattoni at the Gottlieb-Daimler-Stadion, is tipped to accept the role in the coming days.
Augenthaler joined relegation-threatened Leverkusen in 2003, kept them up and oversaw a third-placed finish the following campaign to ensure a return to the Champions League for the 2002 runners-up. In March he extended his contract by a further season until 2006, with executive director Wolfgang Holzhäuser saying the former Germany defender was "the best man for the job".
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