Bundesliga strugglers Nurnberg have announced the sacking of coach Gertjan Verbeek with immediate effect.
Roger Prinzen has been installed as caretaker for the remainder of the season tasked with giving the club -- currently 17th in the table -- a final push to retain status in the final three matches of the season.
Verbeek took charge of Nurnberg in October, but could not stop the club failing to win a single match before Christmas. However, by February the Dutchman had appeared to have turned things around.
Nurnberg won four of their first five Bundesliga games in 2014, but have lost eight of their subsequent nine games.
With three games left to play Nurnberg are five points from safety but, with one point fewer than 16th-placed Hamburg, still have a realistic chance of making the relegation playoffs.
For Nurnberg’s final three games of the season, the club have appointed reserve coaches Prinzen and Marek Mintal as caretakers. Both had already been in charge for one game following the sacking of Michael Wiesinger earlier this season.
"We are convinced that through this decision we will release new energy,” sporting director Martin Bader told the club's official website. "Roger knows the team well and has already shown he can immediately help the team in a difficult situation."
Prinzen added: "I don’t want to talk about getting relegated, but about avoiding the drop. Everyone has written us off, but I am profoundly convinced we can stay in the league."
Nurnberg play at Mainz weekend, before hosting Hannover on May 3. On the final day of the regular season, Nurnberg will make the trip north to Gelsenkirchen, where they will meet Champions League contenders Schalke.