Bayer Leverkusen coach Klaus Toppmoller has been sacked after their latest defeat plunged the club deeper into the relegation mire.

They club have lost their last five matches, including Saturday’s 2-1 home defeat by Hansa Rostock.They currently lie 15th place in the 18-team Bundesliga.

Leverkusen, who were last season’s mearly-men in Germany, finishing runners-up in the Champions League, the Bundesliga and the German Cup final, said Thomas Hoerster, formerly the coach of one the club’s youth sides, would take over on until a permanent successor had been found.

‘We had to act so that the quality of the players can re-emerge,’ said Leverkusen commercial manager Reiner Calmund.

‘Despite the defeat by Bochum (on February 8), we still had a glimmer of hope,’ Calmund added.

‘It was not just a coaching problem. But the way in which the team appeared against Rostock was a landslide.’

Last season’s achievements proved difficult to emulate and matters were not helped by the departures of midfield players Michael Ballack and Ze Roberto to Bayern Munich.

Toppmoller took over in June 2001 from former Germany coach Berti Vogts.