VfL Wolfsburg confirmed Thursday they have parted company with coach Felix Magath with the Bundesliga's bottom club naming reserve team coach Lorenz-Guenther Koestner as caretaker boss.
Wolfsburg confirmed Magath, 59, who was both coach and manager, resigned after 586 days in charge with the team having picked up just five points with one victory in eight games, their worst start to a German league season.
"The focus now lies on the forthcoming games in which we need to catch up to midtable in the Bundesliga as quickly as possible," said Wolfsburg's chairman Francisco Garcia Sanz.
"Felix Magath took the first step of explaining to the board that he cares heavily for the club, but he asked to be relieved of his duties."
Sanz insisted Magath was not sacked and rejected claims the players had said they did not want to work with him any more.
"He reacted like a professional who had analysed the situation. We have not dismissed Mr Magath," said Sanz
Koestner admitted to a German Sky Sports reporter he had heard the news of his promotion on his mobile phone while in the sauna.
Having coached Wolves to the Bundesliga title in May 2009, Magath left soon after to work with Schalke 04, but he was dismissed by the Royal Blues in March 2011.
He returned to Wolves less than 24 hours later to replace former England manager Steve McClaren, but has failed to revive the club's fortunes and has been strongly criticised for making some poor purchases.
Since his return in March 2011, Magath had bought 26 players, eight of whom have already left the club while seven hardly play a role at Wolfsburg.
None of his summer signings, including Dutch striker Bas Dost, Brazilian defender Naldo, Austria's Emanuel Pogatetz, striker Ivica Olic or right-back Fagner from Brazil, have lived up to expectations.
During Wolfsburg's 2-0 defeat at home to Freiburg on Saturday, fans chanted "Magath out!" and turned their back on the field of play.
Wolfsburg are at mid-table Fortuna Duesseldorf on Saturday in the Bundesliga with the German media already speculating who will replace Magath.
Ex-Bayern Munich director of sport Christian Nerlinger is just one of the names mentioned along with ex-Real Madrid boss Bernd Schuster and Guus Hiddink, who is coaching Russian first division leaders Anzhi Makhachkala.