Union Berlin sack coach Bjelica amid Bundesliga survival fight

rugby06 May 2024 15:01| © AFP
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Marco Grote © Getty Images

Bundesliga strugglers Union Berlin on Monday sacked coach Nenad Bjelica with Marco Grote stepping in as interim boss with two games left this season.

The club fell 4-3 at home to Bochum on Sunday to sit 15th in the Bundesliga, one-point ahead of Mainz who occupy the relegation playoff spot.

Grote, 51, will work alongside current assistant coaches Marie-Louise Eta and Sebastian Boenig with the next league game against relegation rivals Cologne on Saturday.

"I'm convinced that we'll manage to avoid relegation," said Grote.

Bjelica, 52, was appointed last November after the capital club parted ways with coach Urs Fischer following a nine-game league losing run left them in last place.

Grote had been in charge of Union's U19s in the A-Junior Bundesliga since July 2022, and stepped in on an interim basis in November, breaking the team's losing streak with a 1-1 draw against Augsburg.

In the top division since 2019, Union Berlin finished fourth last season and were playing Champions League football against Real Madrid as recently as December.

Union Berlin's final game of the campaign will be at home to seventh-placed Freiburg on 18 May.