Borussia Mönchengladbach's wretched start to the season has claimed its first victim. Swiss coach Lucien Favre told media sources on Sunday evening that he was throwing in the towel.
Favre announced his resignation to the German news agency SID with an extensive statement. "After careful consideration and intense analysis of the situation," Favre wrote, "I have come to the realization that the best decision in this situation is for me to step down from my position as head coach of Borussia Mönchengladbach."
Having survived a relegation play-off against Bochum just after joining, the 57-year-old brought one of Germany's biggest clubs back into the European club football's elite competition over his four years in charge.
"I was privileged to lead Borussia from near-relegation to the Champions League," Favre wrote in his statement. "There were a lot of unbelievable, exhilirating moments...The time has come to make a change. That's the best decision for botht he club and the team. I no longer feel that I'm the perfect coach for Borussia Mönchengladbach."
Shock and uncertainty
The club confirmed Favre's departure shortly after his announcement broke. Team sources said that club bosses had tried to convince the Swiss to stay on at his job but were unsuccessful.
One report in the "Rheinische Post" newspaper says Favre was persuaded several times by sporting director Max Eberl to stay in the job. But after five defeats, the Swiss boss' decision is definite and Gladbach looks for a potential successor.
"We're completely bowled over," Gladbach vice-President Rainer Bonhoff told SID. "We discussed things with one another the entire day. We refused to accept his resignation because we were of the opinion that together we could get the job done. But he went public on his own."
"We remain totally convinced that Lucien is the perfect coach for Borussia and together we can work through a difficult period," Eberl said after the worst start in the club's history.
Vogts: 'Klopp would be ideal'
Andre Schubert, the club's U23 coach, could step in for Wednesday's match against Augsburg before the Foals will take on Manchester City in nine days in the Champions League. Schubert has first-team coaching experience at St Pauli and Paderborn and could share the duties with U19 boss Arie van Lent.
But former Gladbach legend Berti Vogts has told the "Rheinische Post" that he thinks recently-departed Borussia Dortmund coach Jürgen Klopp would be the ideal man for the job. "Borussia is a club that you can take right to the top and it needs a shake. Klopp would be the right man," Vogts said.
Other names in the frame include former Werder Bremen and Eintracht Frankfurt coach Thomas Schaaf, ex-Schalke boss Jens Keller, Jos Luhukay and Augsburg's Markus Weinzierl.