After just one win in their first four league games, Wolfsburg have parted ways with head coach Andries Jonker and most of their coaching staff. Martin Schmidt, who coached Mainz last season, has taken his place.
Andries Jonker, assistant coaches Uwe Speidel and Fredrik Ljungberg and matchday analyst Jan van Loon have all been "relieved of their duties," Wolfsburg announced in a statement on Monday.
"The decision to make a change of head coach at this early stage of the season wasn't easy for any of us. However, during our internal consultations, we ultimately came to the conclusion that we wish to approach the task with a newly formed coaching team," said Wolfsburg manager Tim Schumacher as part of the statement.
Jonker, 54, took charge of Wolfsburg in February, having previously headed the youth academy of London club Arsenal. He just managed to save Wolfsburg from relegation last season, leading them to victory over Eintracht Braunschweig in the relegation/promotion playoff.
But the Wolves have just one win this season and four points from four Bundesliga games, scoring only two goals. Their most recent loss came away against newly-promoted Stuttgart, 1-0, on Saturday.
"The decision for us to take this step at this point in time was not just the impression made upon us during the game against Stuttgart, but rather based upon the perception of stagnated development among the team, which was to a great extent newly formed during the summer. We expressly wish to thank Andries Jonker and his coaching staff, for rescuing [Wolfsburg's] position in the top-flight at the last minute at the end of last season," said Wolfsburg spokesman Wolfgang Holze as part of the statement.
Schmidt takes over
With Wolfsburg set to host Werder Bremen in the Bundesliga on Tuesday, the club confirmed Martin Schmidt would replace Jonker in a statement released later on Monday. The Swiss coach has signed a two-year contract until June, 2019.
Schmidt, who last coached at Mainz, said the appointment occured in a matter of hours.
"Only a few hours passed between initial contract and signing my contract," Schmidt, who is Wolfsburg's fourth coach since the start of last season, said as part of the statement. "It is no mystery - Wolfsburg had showed interest a few months ago, but at the time I didn't consider it out of respect and loyalty to Mainz."
"I would like to thank Martin Schmidt for agreeing [to join the club] so quickly," Wolfsburg's sporting director, Olaf Rebbe, said in a statement released later Monday. "We are excited that he fits to Wolfsburg so well with his experience and his strengths."
Mainz parted ways with Schmidt at the end of last season after he steered the club away from the relegation zone. Schmidt led Mainz to a sixth place finish in 2015-16, qualifying the club to their first-ever Europa League group stage last season. But Mainz struggled to cope with European competition and spent much of last season in the lower part of the Bundesliga table.