- Associated Press - Sunday, February 26, 2017

BERLIN (AP) - Wolfsburg fired coach Valerien Ismael on Sunday after the former defender failed to turn around a poor season that has left the Bundesliga club flirting with relegation.

The struggling Volkswagen-backed club said in a statement that Ismael was leaving “with immediate effect” and that a new coach could be presented as soon as Monday.

“We didn’t make the decision based primarily on the latest result against Bremen, but above all on the impressions and results of the last weeks and months,” Wolfsburg sporting director Olaf Rebbe said in a club statement.

Wolfsburg lost 2-1 at home to Bremen on Friday and is only two points above the relegation zone after 22 rounds of the German league.

The 41-year-old Ismael, formerly Wolfsburg’s under-23 coach, was given the job at first on an interim basis after predecessor Dieter Hecking - now at Borussia Moenchengladbach - was fired seven league games into the season. Ismael gained the job on a permanent basis when no other candidates were found.

Ismael, who took over on Oct. 17, managed only five victories in 15 league games with nine defeats.

Friday’s loss to fellow struggler Bremen - the club Ismael won the double with as a player in 2004 - was his last game in charge. It was Wolfsburg’s fifth defeat in six games.

“The results aren’t just,” Ismael said afterward. “It was the best I’ve seen from us … I didn’t feel any uncertainty. Just the result didn’t fit the picture.”

Ismael’s previous spell in management ended in November 2014 when he was fired as Nuremberg coach after seven defeats and only four wins in 13 second-division games.

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