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Nuremberg fire coach Verbeek with three Bundesliga matches to play

Nuremberg have fired coach Gertjan Verbeek. The 51-year-old Dutchman lasted just six months in the job, and leaves der Club facing relegation from the Bundesliga with just three matches to play.

The Bundesliga side announced on Wednesday that Verbeek and assistant Raymond Libregts were leaving the team with immediate effect. Under-23 coach Roger Prinzen will take charge until the end of the season.

Verbeek, who previously coached Herenveen, Feyenoord and AZ Alkmaar, was appointed last October after Michael Wiesinger was let go. After failing to win a game in the first half of the season, Nuremberg began 2014 with a resounding 4-0 win over Hoffenheim.

The Franconians went on to win four out of their next five matches before going into the slump that ultimately cost Verbeek his job. Nuremberg lost eight out of their last nine matches under the Dutchman.

The 4-1 defeat to Bayer Leverkusen on Sunday

proved to be the tipping point for the club's management.

"After the latest series of defeats we had an intensive conversations to determine which steps were necessary to ensure victory in the final three matches," said Manager Martin Bader.

"We are convinced that we can release something within the team with this decision," he added. "It was not one that was taken easily."

Difficult road ahead

Nuremberg, currently 17th in the Bundesliga table, are one point behind Hamburg and the relegation playoff place. They take on Mainz, Hannover and Schalke in the final three matches of the season.

Prinzen, who previously took charge of the first team after Wiesinger's sacking for the 1-1 draw with Eintracht Frankfurt on October 19, expressed optimism about Nuremberg's survival chances.

"I want to talk about staying up, not about relegation," he said. "For everybody we are already relegated but I am absolutely convinced we will stay up. We are only a point away from the relegation playoff place."

Verbeek is the eighth coach to lose his job this season in the Bundesliga, and the second in April following

Sami Hyypia's dismissal from Leverkusen

. Nuremberg are now the third team in the league to fire two coaches this campaign after Hamburg and Stuttgart.

Three matches to play, one point off the relegation playoff spot and Verbeek is now gone. Can Nuremberg avoid the drop? Give us your thoughts in the comments section below.

dr/hc (SID, dpa, AP)

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