Switzerland’s most successful football club, Grasshoppers Zurich, have sacked manager Alain Geiger after a run of poor results.
The team’s lacklustre start to the season continued on Saturday with a 2-0 defeat to joint bottom club Servette.
Grasshoppers said on Monday that Carlos Bernegger, coach of the club’s under-18s, would take over temporarily.
“The management and board of Grasshoppers have decided to release manager Alain Geiger from his duties with immediate effect in view of the unsatisfactory results and the team’s lack of progress,” said a statement on the club’s website.
Capped 112 times for the Swiss national side, Geiger was one of the country’s most popular and successful players.
As well as representing Switzerland at the 1994 World Cup and at Euro 96, the former defender won four league titles and three Swiss Cups during his playing career.
After previous spells as a manager at Neuchâtel Xamax and FC Aarau, he took up the reins at Grasshoppers in December 2003.
But the 43-year-old was unable to reverse a recent slump which has coincided with the rise of FC Basel.
On the slide
Since winning the championship in 2003, the Zurich side have seen their star wane.
Basel stormed to the title last season, finishing 44 points clear of Grasshoppers who limped home in seventh place.
In 29 matches under Geiger, Grasshoppers registered only eight wins. They also suffered an embarrassing Swiss Cup final loss to lowly FC Wil.
This season’s low points have included an 8-1 defeat by Basel and losses to Servette and city rivals FC Zurich.
With 11 games played, Grasshoppers are seventh out of the ten teams in Switzerland’s top division, nine points adrift of joint leaders Basel and Thun.
Geiger’s sacking comes almost a year to the day after the club sacked his predecessor Marcel Koller.
Koller, who steered Grasshoppers to the title in 2003, was shown the door after a run of five defeats.
Grasshoppers have won the Swiss championship a record 27 times, the Swiss Cup a record 18 times, and have achieved the double on a record eight occasions.
The club reached the semi-finals of the European Cup in 1978, and qualified for the Champions League in 1995/96 and 1996/97.
swissinfo with agencies
Grasshoppers were founded in 1886.
They have won the Swiss championship a record 27 times.
The team play at the 16,000-seater Hardturm stadium.
The club’s annual budget is around SFr15 million ($12 million).
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