Struggling Dusseldorf fires coach Friedhelm Funkel


Duesseldorf coach Friedhelm Funkel falting his hands during the German Bundesliga soccer match between Borussia Moenchengladbach and Fortuna Duesseldorf, Germany, Sunday, Nov. 4, 2018. (Martin Meissner/AP)

DUSSELDORF, Germany — Fortuna Dusseldorf fired Friedhelm Funkel as coach on Wednesday after the team slipped to last place in the Bundesliga.

The struggling club said it was reacting to the "sporting crisis" after six losses in eight league games.

The 66-year-old Funkel took over Fortuna in March 2016 and was in charge for 138 competitive games. He saved the club from relegation to the third division, led it to promotion from the second division, and then top-flight survival last season.

"We all knew that our second Bundesliga year would be very difficult and that we would be in a fight for survival. The season has shown us, however, that we weren’t able to get the necessary points on the track," Fortuna sporting director Lutz Pfannenstiel said. "With just 18 goals scored we have the weakest offence, and with 40 conceded we have the third-worst defence in the Bundesliga. That leads us to believe we’re not going to achieve the turnaround in the current constellation. So we had to react at this time."

According to media reports, Uwe Rosler will replace Funkel. The former centre forward played for Dynamo Dresden, Manchester City, Tennis Borussia Berlin and Southampton, among others, before turning to management. He was last in charge of Swedish club Malmo FF.

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