1. FC Nürnberg have sacked Alois Schwartz as head coach, with under-21 manager Michael Köllner appointed as his interim replacement.
Schwartz leaves Der Club after a run of just one win in six 2. Bundesliga games, with Sunday’s defeat against bitter rivals SpVgg Greuther Fürth their third in a row.
Köllner will lead the side until further notice, with their next match against Arminia Bielefeld on Sunday.
Burgstaller departure and injures hit Schwartz hard
Schwartz leaves after eight months the club, having replaced René Weiler following his departure to RSC Anderlecht in the summer.
After leading unfashionable SV Sandhausen to three mid-table finishes, Schwartz struggled to have the same impact with his new club. They failed to win any of their first six games, a huge disappointment after they finished third last season.
Fortunately for Schwartz their fortunes turned quickly around, with a run of four consecutive victories kick-starting their season. The run was fuelled by the goals of Guido Burgstaller, who scored 14 goals and failed to score just twice after being left on the bench in the first game against Fürth.
However Burgstaller left the club for Schalke 04 during the winter break whilst they have also suffered various injuries, including all four first-choice defenders. They have won just once since the resumption, and failed to even score in their three most-recent losses.
Köllner brought in to arrest the slide
Defeat in the Frankenderby against Fürth appears to have convinced the board that a change was necessary. Andreas Bornemann, Nürnberg’s sporting director, said that the club has not “succeeded in in ensuring the necessary stability” and that in order to “stop the negative trend of the last few games” they had to make a change.
He is replaced, until the club find a long-term successor, by Köllner, who Borenemann described as “a proven football expert.” He has been with the club since March 2016 as the head of their academy, although he has also been in charge this season of their under-21 team in the fourth-tier Regionalliga Bayern.
The 44-year-old, who has already taken his first training session with the first team, had previously worked at youth level with the DFB and was manager of the under-17 side at Fürth before joining Nürnberg.
Nürnberg fans will be hoping he can prevent the side from slipping any lower than their current eleventh in the 2. Bundesliga table, as well as turn around their terrible home form – they have won at the Frankenstadion just three times this season, and only bottom club Erzgebirge Aue have a worse record at home this season.
Quotes via 1. FC Nürnberg.