Norbert Meier sacked by Kaiserslautern with club at rock bottom

1.FC Kaiserslautern unsurprisingly confirmed on Wednesday morning that they have parted company with head coach Norbert Meier after the club’s terrible start to the 2. Bundesliga season.

The four-time German champions are rock bottom of the second tier after picking up just two points since the start of the campaign, with their 2-0 defeat to Erzgebirge Aue on Tuesday being the last straw.

Manfred Paula, the head of the club’s academy, has taken temporary charge of the first team alongside under-19 coach Alexander Bugera.

Five defeats in seven matches

Meier had taken over the side halfway through last season following the surprise resignation of Tayfun Korkut after less than six months in charge. Under his watch they just about kept their heads above water, finishing five points clear of the relegation zone despite still being in danger of going down on the final day.

The loss at home to Aue though was their fifth defeat of the current campaign, and the third on the bounce since the international break, following losses to Holstein Kiel and SV Sandhausen. The club were playing turgid and uninspiring football as well, and Meier became prone to speaking out against his superiors in recent weeks.

A parting of the ways between the club and Meier was becoming increasingly inevitable, and Meier admitted his time might be up after the defeat to the Violas, saying “I don’t know if I’m still the one who gives hope to the fans.”

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Meier fears successor will have difficult task

And on Wednesday, despite it being his 59th birthday, he was put out of his misery, as both he and assistant Frank Heinemann were let go by the Red Devils after 24 matches at the club.

Sporting director Boris Notzon said the club were “reacting to the ongoing sporting situation,” which has “not been easy for us.” Whilst they were thankful for the work that Meier had done since January, “the last two games did not leave us with the impression” that things were likely to improve under the current set up.

Speaking to local broadcaster SWR later in the day, Meier said he and his coaching staff were keeping their fingers crossed” for the team going forward, however he believes a replacement should be installed “as quickly as possible,” but warned that “it will not be an easy task” to take Kasierslautern out of their slump.

Paula and Bugera will take training until then, and may well still in place for their next game, against 1. FC Union Berlin next Monday.

Quotes via Kicker, 1.FC Kaiserslautern and Die Betze Brennt.