The defeat was Leverkusen’s fourth in six Bundesliga games, and left the club in ninth, 11 points off the UEFA Champions League places.
“I consider Roger Schmidt to be an absolutely top coach,” said Bayer’s sporting director Rudi Völler on announcing the club’s decision. “But we had to act quickly if we don’t want to lose sight of our goals.”
An Austrian Bundesliga champion as coach of FC Salzburg, Schmidt led Leverkusen into the Champions League for each of the last two seasons, finishing third behind Bayern Munich and Dortmund last term.
“The first thing we have to do is to get new impetus and instil some consistency,” continued Völler. “Our team has great quality, but we have shown that far too rarely this season. Roger Schmidt is capable of finding success again.”