McClaren is sacked as Wolfsburg battle to save their season

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The Independent Football

The former England manager Steve McClaren parted company with Wolfsburg yesterday following a string of poor results. The German club's 1-0 defeat by Hannover on Saturday was their second in a row and continued a miserable sequence of one win in 11 in the Bundesliga. In 21 games at the helm, McClaren managed just five wins.

McClaren leaves the club, champions just two seasons ago, sitting 12th in the league, just one point above the relegation zone. Pierre Littbarski has been named as his replacement.

The chief executive of Wolfsburg, Dieter Hoeness, said: "We were not convinced that we could have a stable collaboration with Steve McClaren until the end of the season. We tried it, but unfortunately we have now lost the belief." Explaining Littbarski's elevation to the hot seat, Hoeness added: "We talked at great length with him. He has convinced us that he will take the necessary measures in our situation."

McClaren has seen his stock plummet in German football after joining Wolfsburg amid much expectation in May last year, fresh from guiding Twente to their first ever Dutch title.

In joining the Wolves, the 49-year-old became the first Englishman to manage in the German top flight, but quickly found that he was unable to replicate the success he had enjoyed in the Netherlands, with Wolfsburg losing his first three league games in charge.

Although the team recovered slightly, wins remained hard to come by and a recent sequence of seven straight league draws underlined their lack of cutting edge.

The club's chairman, Dr Francisco Javier Garcia Sanz, revealed the club gave McClaren every opportunity to turn their season around, but in the end were forced to act nine months into a two-year contract.

"We have not seen any alternative," he said. "Therefore, we have been waiting a long time with the decision. The supervisory board and management now believes, however, that the team cannot continue under Steve McClaren."

McClaren began his managerial career at Middlesbrough in 2001, winning the Carling Cup in 2004 and reaching the final of the Uefa Cup in 2006. He was appointed as England coach in August 2006 but was sacked when the team failed to qualify for Euro 2008.