(Reuters) - German champions Bayern Munich have parted company with coach Niko Kovac, a day after a 5-1 thrashing away to Eintracht Frankfurt in the Bundesliga, the club said on Sunday.
A statement from Bayern said Kovac had gone after “mutual agreement” between him and the club, which dropped to fourth in the league after their heavy defeat.
Bayern president Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said: “The performance of our team in recent weeks and the results have shown us that there was need for action.
“I had an open and serious conversation with Niko on this basis on Sunday with the consensual result that Niko is no longer coach of Bayern.”
Defeat by Eintracht was Bayern’s second of the season but they have also drawn three matches.
“We all regret this development. I would like to thank Niko Kovac on behalf of FC Bayern for his work, especially for winning the double this past season,” added Rummenigge.
Assistant coach Hans Flick will take charge of Bayern’s Champions League clash with Olympiakos on Wednesday and for next Saturday’s key clash with Borussia Dortmund.
Kovac, who took over at Bayern in 2018 after a spell in charge of Eintracht Frankfurt where he won the German Cup, said it was the “right decision”.
“The results, and also the way we last played, made me come to that decision,” he said.
“During this time, our team has won the championship, the DFB Cup and the Supercup. It was a good time. I wish the club and the team all the best.”
Bayern have so far played a lacklustre season, lying in fourth place in the Bundesliga for their worst standing in 10 years and have conceded more goals than in any of the past decade at this stage.
While topping their Champions League group thanks to three wins, including a 7-2 demolition of Tottenham Hotspur, Bayern have not hit the form that has seen them dominate the league for the past seven seasons and win the 2013 Champions League crown.
Lacking any attacking plan they have largely relied on the goals from Robert Lewandowski to get them out of trouble with the Pole scoring 14 times in 10 league games alone.
They have been also been leaking goals despite a backline that includes French world champions Benjamin Pavard and now-injured Lucas Hernandez, while big close season transfer Philippe Coutinho has yet to shine in the Bundesliga.
Kovac had been brought in as an inexpensive option after a string of big-name predecessors, including Louis van Gaal, Jupp Heynckes, Pep Guardiola and Carlo Ancelotti.
German media have been speculating about a possible successor to Kovac for weeks, with Ajax Amsterdam coach Erik ten Haag seen as a possible target.
Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Christian Radnedge