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FA Cup quarterfinal draw

FA Cup
By ESPN Staff

Skibbe sacked by Hertha

Hertha Berlin coach Michael Skibbe has been sacked after just five games in charge of the Bundesliga club.

Saturday's 5-0 defeat at Stuttgart - the fifth defeat in a row since Skibbe took over from Markus Babbel during the winter break - has proved to be the final straw with the manager dismissed on Sunday morning.

"After five defeats in a row and the 5-0 thrashing in Stuttgart, we felt forced to take this step,'' said Hertha's general manager Michael Preetz at a press conference.

Club captain Andre Mijatovic understood his club's stance after hearing the news before training this morning.

"The fact is, we have lost five games and this is a normal reaction from a club,'' he told Bild. "That's the way the coaching business works.''

Skibbe is the sixth coach to be replaced in the Bundesliga this season, coming only a few days after Babbel returned to action to replace Holger Stanislawski at Hoffenheim.

Stanislawski has now become one of the main candidates to take over in Berlin, although an internal candidate will be appointed for the time being until a suitable long-term replacement can be found.

"We are first going to find an interim solution, but at the same time, we will be looking for a new coach,'' revealed Preetz, who admitted he had made a mistake by appointing Skibbe only seven and a half weeks ago. "I appointed Skibbe and I carry the responsibility for the coaching decision.

"We have not been able to play a successful second half of the season with him and it is my responsibility towards Hertha Berlin to put right this error in judgment.''

The writing was on the wall for Skibbe when Preetz failed to back him after the humbling.

"We will first head back to Berlin all together and then we have got to let the game sink in,'' he told Sky television. "It is not about giving him our support - it was certainly not a half of football that even the coach has experienced before. We will discuss it and, of course, we will deal with it together.''

After one night's sleep, Preetz has decided not to go any further with Skibbe and he informed him of his dismissal at a meeting prior to training.

As he was being informed of the club's decision, several hundred fans made clear their disappointment at the club's training ground, staging a silent march before confronting the players outside the changing rooms.

Much of their anger was aimed at Preetz, though, for getting rid of Babbel, who was not prepared to sign a new contract, in December when the club was in a healthy position. However, Preetz has refused to leave the club.

"There are not many people who admit to their errors, but I have,'' he said. "I am a fighter, and I was as a player too. I do not just walk away.''

Monday is a day off for the Berlin team, but not for Preetz, who will begin the search for the club's third coach of the season while a member of the current youth team coaching staff is likely to be in charge for next weekend's clash with league leaders Borussia Dortmund.


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