Van Gaal axed by Bayern

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Louis van Gaal has been relieved of his duties as coach of Bayern Munich with immediate effect, the German club have confirmed.

The 59-year-old was due to leave the club at the end of the season but his departure has now been brought forward, with the club fourth in the Bundesliga and struggling to ensure qualification for next season's Champions League.

Van Gaal led the club to the league title last season, his first at the club, and also to the final of the Champions League. His assistant Andries Jonker will take charge until the end of the season, when Jupp Heynckes will succeed him as the club's new permanent boss.

Club bosses Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Uli Hoeness, Karl Hopfner and the director of sport Christian Nerlinger held crisis talks in the club's headquarters and subsequently informed Van Gaal of their decision to go separate ways on Saturday night after returning from Nurnberg, where the team drew 1-1.

"The board, director of sport and president of FC Bayern took this decision together," read a statement from the club.

"After the 1-1 draw in Nurnberg and the renewed slide to fourth in the table, and with the threat of missing out on the minimum aim of a place in the Champions League next season, this decision was taken in FC Bayern's best interests.

"Louis van Gaal's assistants Frans Hoek, Jos van Dijk and Max Reckers have also been relieved of their duties."

Bayern currently trail third-placed Hannover by a point and, were the season to end now, they would only be playing in the Europa League next season.

Since the final of the Champions League will be held at the Allianz Arena next year, failure to even qualify for the competition would be a severe disappointment for Bayern, who will now end the season without a single trophy.

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