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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Feb 8, 2011

Littbarski to be handed Wolfsburg reins

Pierre Littbarski is expected to be given until the end of the season to prove he is a candidate for the Wolfsburg job on a full-time basis following the dismissal of Steve McClaren.

• Wolfsburg axe McClaren
• Forum: McClaren to return to England?

McClaren was shown the door after little over half of the season following last weekend's 1-0 defeat at Hannover, which left the 2009 Bundesliga champions just one point above the relegation zone in the Bundesliga.

Littbarski, who was appointed as McClaren's assistant in the summer and had been working as the Englishman's interpreter, as well as his right-hand man, has been handed the reins in his place. He led his first training session on Tuesday, but other names are already being linked with the club.

Ralf Rangnick, Martin Jol, Huub Stevens and Lucien Favre are the first to emerge, however managing director Dieter Hoeness has given Littbarski his backing to lead the club to safety.

"We hope to have the same result as last year with Lorenz-Gunther Kostner and our aim is to move away from the relegation zone,'' Hoeness said. "There is still a lot of work necessary and I hope that Pierre Littbarski works successfully.''

Hoeness informed McClaren that his tenure had come to an end by telephone on Monday afternoon.

"After Saturday's game, we held lots of talks and considered everything and then we decided that we would go separate ways and I called him to inform him,'' Hoeness told Sport1 television. "It was not easy for me. Usually I prefer to do things like this in person, but there was no other way round it this time.''

According to reports, Hoeness could not deliver the news in person because McClaren was already flying back to England, aware of what was coming. And Hoeness added that it had been a mistake making McClaren the first English coach in the Bundesliga in the first place, saying: "I have to take responsibility for that, it was the wrong decision.''

After the sacking, Littbarski made his authority clear on his first day as Wolfsburg coach by dropping Diego, the player whose behaviour - in ignoring team orders and missing a penalty which he should not even have taken - ultimately cost his predecessor McClaren his job.

''Diego will not play,'' said Littbarski. ''I have suspended him for one game due to the incidents in our last game.''

Littbarski insisted that depriving his side of their record signing should not be such a big deal and that the player should use the weekend to consider his own actions.

''We are not Diego FC,'' he said. ''He now has to rethink things and this should be like a kick in the teeth for him.''

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