After weeks of poor results and discontent on the terraces, 1860 have finally made the decision to release coach Reiner Maurer from his position. The Lions woeful performance in their 2-0 home defeat to FC Cologne proved the tipping point. With only four points from his last six games the news should not have come as too much of a surprise to anyone.
Maurer has been under some pressure in recent weeks, accused by some fans of a lack of passion and an inability to motivate his players. The final straw came after a disjointed performance against fellow Bundesliga 2 strugglers Cologne on Friday, where they failed to create any meaningful chances and paid the price. Kevin McKenna scored the opening goal in only the third minute before a second half strike from Adil Chihi ended a disastrous night for 10-man 1860 who had Grigorios Makos sent off in the first half for a second yellow card offence.
Maurer took charge of Sechzig in July 2010 and guided the team to a ninth place finish in his first season in charge. Last season The Lions finished 6th, their highest position since 2005, but with financial troubles and boardroom squabbles going on behind the scenes, there was always going to be a huge amount of pressure and expectation on the coach to deliver a promotion winning side for the rewards that go with life in the top flight.
News of Maurer's imminent departure was broken on Saturday morning but nothing official was announced until Sunday. Rumours that former England manager Sven-Göran Eriksson would be installed as manager were rife on the internet but the club have announced that 44-year old under 21 team manager Alexander Schmidt will take charge of the team. It's not a temporary arrangement either, Schmidt is the new manager on a full-time permanent basis.
"We had to act now. The team needs a new impetus and a new approach. For Alex, this is a great chance that he will use" said director Robert Schäfer.
Schmidt will lead his side to the capital for his first match in charge against Union Berlin on Saturday. It gives the new boss five days to instill some confidence into the players and to get them motivated and enjoying their football again before the winter break. The first home game for Schmidt will be when Paderborn visit on the 27th of this month. Lions fans will be expecting a higher level of performance than of late and hopefully a much more creative formation and strategy.
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