Leverkusen - Sami Hyypiä has been relieved of his position as Bayer 04 Leverkusen coach with immediate effect, with youth team head coach Sascha Lewandowski taking over first-team duties until the end of the season.

The Matchday 29 defeat at Hamburger SV proved the final straw for a Werkself side now in real danger of slipping out of the top four following a dismal run of form that has seen the Rhineland club collect just eleven points since the turn of the year, as well as being knocked out of the DFB Cup by second tier outfit 1. FC Kaiserslautern and the UEFA Champions League at the hands of Paris Saint-Germain.

'We have to save our season'

"It was a very difficult decision as Sami has done a fantastic job for us in the last two years," said Leverkusen sporting director Rudi Völler. "What he and his coaching staff managed to get out of our team in the first half of the season far exceeded our expectations and earned him widespread praise. It makes this decision all the more difficult. However, the developments of the last few weeks gave us no other option but to go our separate ways. We have to do everything in our power to save our season."

Hyypiä, who ended his playing career at the club, was appointed as joint-coach alongside Lewandowski two years ago, before taking sole charge at the beginning of the 2013/14 season.