Ailing Bundesliga side VFL Wolfsburg have announced that they have sacked their manager, the former England boss Steve McClaren, after a dismal six months in charge.
The 2009 Bundesliga champions have won just five of their 21 league games this season, a record which has seen an expensively-assembled side that was expected to challenge for this seasons Bundesliga title, fall to 12th in the table.
McClaren made the move to the Volkswagen Arena in June amid much fanfare, having taken the provincial Dutch club FC Twente to their first ever Eredivisie title last season, ahead of the Dutch powerhouses Ajax.
However, whilst the former Middlesbrough manager was backed in the summer transfer market, spending heavily to bring in the likes of the highly-rated Denmark international Simon Kjaer from Italian side Palermo, experienced German defender Arne Friedrich, Croatian striker Mario Mandzukic and the diminutive Brazilian playmaker Diego after a nightmare spell in Italy with Juventus, he hasn’t been able to fashion a side to challenge for honours.
Indeed McClaren has seemingly struggled to keep a hold over his players, and internal problems have been rife during his time at the club.
On the eve of the season, which opened with a 2-1 defeat away at Bayern Munich thanks to a late Bastian Schweinsteiger double, he was involved in a spat with Zvjezdan Misimovic, the Bosnian playmaker who had been an integral part of Felix Magath’s 2009 title winners, over the formation McClaren wanted to employ, and Misimovic was promptly sold to Turkish side Galatasaray.
He also alienated the Brazilian striker Grafite, who had been a part of Brazil’s 2010 World Cup squad, when asking the powerful forward to play as a left winger as a part of McClaren’s 4-2-3-1 formation.
On the field the side continued to struggle, and a mid-season run of nine games without a win, including a cup defeat to second division side Energie Cottbus saw McClaren given a vote of confidence by the club, in late December.
However, the club has only managed to win once since October 30th, and following the lastest sign of player mutiny – where McClaren’s big-money buy Diego missed a late penalty in the 1-0 defeat against Hannover, rather than Patrick Helmes who McClaren had decided would take the penalty (Diego was subsequently fined €84,000) – General Manager Dieter Hoeness has decided to terminate McClaren’s association with the club.
“We were no longer sure that we could work with Steve McClaren until the end of the season with some stability,” said Hoeness.
“We have tried to make things work for as long as possible, but we have lost faith that he can bring success.”