- Associated Press - Monday, September 19, 2011

SOFIA, BULGARIA (AP) - Lothar Matthaeus was fired Monday as Bulgaria’s soccer coach after leading the team to only five points from seven European Championship qualifying matches.

Bulgarian soccer union president Borislav Mihailov said that despite an agreement to extend the contract of the star German through World Cup qualifying, the federation changed its mind after qualifying losses to England and Switzerland.

“There were many reasons to release Matthaeus, not only the poor results in the last matches,” said Mihailov, adding no compensation will be paid. “Pressure and negativity had also piled up in the squad, so the change was necessary.”

Matthaeus was not immediately available for comment.

Under-21 coach Mihail Madanski has been appointed acting coach and will lead the team in the next Euro 2012 qualifier against Wales next month. Bulgaria failed to qualify for Euro 2012 from Group G.

Matthaeus had pledged to take Bulgaria to Euro 2012 when he took over in September 2010. He was the second foreigner to coach Bulgaria after Rudolf Vitlacil, a Czech who led the team in 1964-66.

Matthaeus coached Hungary without much success in 2004-05 and has held coaching jobs with a number of clubs, including Partizan Belgrade, Rapid Vienna and Red Bull Salzburg.

The midfielder played a record 150 games for Germany and West Germany, leading the team to the World Cup title in 1990 and the 1986 final. He played 302 matches for Bayern Munich and won the UEFA Cup.

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