Bayern sack Louis van Gaal
Bayern Munich have sacked coach Louis van Gaal with immediate effect, the Bundesliga club confirmed on Sunday morning.
The German club had already announced that Van Gaal would be replaced by Bayer Leverkusen's Jupp Heynckes at the end of the season, but a draw at Nurnberg on Saturday has prompted them into action prematurely.
A 1-1 draw saw Bayern concede third place, and Champions League qualification, to Hannover with only five games remaining in the Bundesliga season.
Bayern chose to dismiss Van Gaal following the result, with his assistant Andries Jonker taking charge for the remainder of the season.
Board members Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Uli Hoeness and Karl Hopfner met with sporting director Christian Nerlinger and took the decision late on Saturday night.
"The board, director of sport and president of FC Bayern took this decision together,'' a statement from the club read. "After the 1-1 draw in Nurnberg yesterday and the renewed slide to fourth in the table, and with the threat of missing out on the minimum aim of a place in the Champions League next season, this decision was taken in FC Bayern's best interests.
"Louis van Gaal's assistants Frans Hoek, Jos van Dijk and Max Reckers have also been relieved of their duties.''
Though Van Gaal won the Double last season, and reached the final of the Champions League, Bayern's domestic form has been poor across the 2010-11 campaign and they now risk missing out on the lucrative European competition in a year in which the final will be held in Munich.
Bayern's next fixture is against Leverkusen, meaning Heynckes could well deal a further setback to the European aspirations of the team he will coach next season.
Bayern's chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge explained that there had been "no alternative'' but to part company with Van Gaal, while president Uli Hoeness said it was a decision which was a long time in coming.
"It all started getting messy when he (Van Gaal) dropped Hans-Jorg Butt and replaced him with Thomas Kraft,'' he said. "That brought insecurity into the defence and we could not hold out for much longer.
"Football should be enjoyable, but there has been nothing enjoyable about football at FC Bayern for a while now. And to say that he had the players behind him was a myth.''