Germany have sacked coach Hansi Flick just nine months from hosting Euro 2024 after Saturday’s humiliating 4-1 defeat by Japan, the German FA (DFB) announced on Sunday.
Flick became the first and only Germany head coach to be sacked since the position was created in 1926.
Sporting director Rudi Voeller, who coached the side to a 2002 World Cup final against Brazil, will take over on an interim basis.
German FA boss Bernd Neuendorf said the sacking was “unavoidable” after the team’s recent run of “disappointing” results.
In a statement, Neuendorf said “with a view towards the European championships in our own country, we need a spirit of optimism and confidence”, saying the decision was one of his “most difficult so far.”
Voeller is reportedly unlikely to lead Germany to Euro 2024.
Flick took over as Germany coach from former mentor Joachim Loew after the European Championship in 2021.
He had previously served as deputy to Loew in Germany’s 2014 World Cup triumph as well as leading Bayern Munich to a treble in 2020.
Flick helped mastermind a golden era as Loew’s assistant coach for eight years up until 2014, culminating with Germany’s World Cup win in Brazil.
After leaving the German Football Association (DFB) in 2017, he then became a coaching star in his own right thanks to a whirlwind spell in charge of Bayern Munich.
In just 18 months at the helm of Germany’s biggest club, Flick racked up seven trophies, including a historic Bundesliga, German Cup and Champions League treble in the 2019/20 season.
His success at Bayern Munich and historic ties to the DFB made him a strong favourite to take over the national team after Loew announced he would end a 15-year reign following the delayed Euro 2020.
In 19 international matches under Flick’s leadership so far, Germany have 11 wins, six draws and two defeats – including the painful loss to Japan in Qatar.
Born in 1965, Flick enjoyed a short but successful playing career, winning four Bundesliga titles with Bayern Munich in the late 1980s.
After injuries forced the midfielder to retire at 28, he had spells coaching lower-league clubs, and notably kickstarted Hoffenheim’s eventual rise to the Bundesliga with promotion from the fourth to the third tier in 2001.
Yet it was as Loew’s assistant from 2006 to 2014 that Flick gained national fame, helping Germany to five successive semi-final appearances at major tournaments.