Cologne call in Schaefer to help avoid drop

Relegation-threatened Cologne replaced coach Stale Solbakken on Thursday with ex-trainer Frank Schaefer who has just four matches left to save them from relegation in the German league.The 44-year-old Solbakken took charge of Cologne at the start of the season, but after his team were hammered 4-0 at Mainz on Tuesday, they remain 16th in the German league, third from bottom.Schaefer, 48, coached Cologne in the 2010/11 season and has been called in to help dig them out of the relegation mire as the team which finishes 16th in the league faces a play-off against the third best team in the second division."Frank Schaefer showed last season that he can motivate the team to play well," said Cologne's chairman Claus Horstmann, whose team are at fourth-placed Moenchengladbach on Sunday."He knows the players and can start tomorrow."He has been instructed to mobilise all resources to get the necessary points for the team in the league."He also enjoys the support of our fans and our team relies on their support in this difficult situation."After his team was mauled at Mainz, Solbakken was summonsed to a ten-minute meeting on Thursday when he was given the news he was being replaced.The club have said he has been given a leave of absence, but it is unlikely the Norwegian will return to coach Cologne.He is the ninth coach to part ways with a German league club this season after Markus Babbel and Michael Skibbe were both sacked by Hertha Berlin.Marcus Sorg (Freiburg), Michael Oenning (Hamburg), Holger Stanislawski (Hoffenheim), Marco Kurz (Kaiserslautern) and Robin Dutt (Bayer Leverkusen) were also all fired by their clubs while Ralf Rangnick quit Schalke 04 last September with burn-out.

Source: AFP