Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich have announced manager Louis van Gaal will leave the club at the end of the season.
Van Gaal, 59, was under intense pressure after his side slumped to a 3-1 defeat at Hannover on Saturday, leaving the reigning champions in fifth position on the Bundesliga table and 19 points behind table-toppers Borussia Dortmund.
Recent defeats to Dortmund and a DFB-Pokal Cup semi-final exit to Schalke put the Dutch manager under pressure before Saturday’s defeat forced the Bayern board to act.
A meeting between Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, sporting director Christian Nerlinger and van Gaal on Monday saw all parties reach the conclusion that at the end of the season, Bayern would be seeking a new manager.
“Louis van Gaal will remain head coach of Bayern Munich until the end of the season on 30/06/2011,” a Bayern statement confirmed.
The statement said van Gaal’s contract, which ran until the end of the 2011/2012 season will be ‘resolved by mutual agreement at the end of this season’ and dubbed the reason for the manager’s sacking as the ‘difference in opinion over the strategic direction of the club’.
The timing of the decision is questionable, with Bayern having one foot in the Champions League quarter-finals.
After a 1-0 away win at Inter Milan, the Germans host Leonardo’s side at the Allianz Arena on March 15.
The two-legged affair is a repeat of last year’s final which Inter won 2-0.