Markus Weinzierl was dismissed as Stuttgart head coach after a dire loss at Augsburg, a decision Thomas Hitzlsperger said was hard to make.
Stuttgart sporting director Thomas Hitzlsperger says the club were left with no choice other than to dismiss head coach Markus Weinzierl after the 6-0 humiliation against Augsburg.
Weinzierl was only appointed as Tayfun Korkut's successor in October but he has overseen just four Bundesliga wins during his six-month tenure.
Saturday's dreadful loss at Augsburg leaves Stuttgart just three points above the two automatic relegation spots in the top flight, while a play-off to avoid the drop looks inevitable.
Hitzlsperger said it was a tough decision to take but the best call had been made to try and secure Stuttgart's future.
"We stated several times that we wanted to bring the season to a successful conclusion with Markus Weinzierl and his coaching team," Hitzlsperger told the club's official website.
"However, after the extremely disappointing match in Augsburg we chose to review the situation again and decided that a clear break is necessary in order to secure our Bundesliga survival.
"We didn't take this decision lightly, but VfB's success comes first and we have to act accordingly."
Stuttgart place faith in under-19s coach Willig
VfB Stuttgart have relieved Markus Weinzierl of his duties as head coach with immediate effect, with U-19 coach Nico Willig taking charge of the first team on an interim basis. #VfB https://t.co/GKIcyEQRQO— VfB Stuttgart_int (@VfB_int) April 20, 2019
Under-19s coach Nico Willig has taken over until the end of the season and Hitzlsperger backed him to keep the club in the Bundesliga.
"Over the last few years Nico Willig has done very good work in the VfB youth academy and immediately agreed to help out with this difficult situation," he added.
"We believe he is capable of quickly bringing fresh impetus to the team and helping them avoid relegation."