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Soccer: Leverkusen sack coach Herrlich, hire Dutchman Bosz

Soccer Football - Bundesliga - Schalke 04 v Bayer Leverkusen - Veltins-Arena, Gelsenkirchen, Germany - December 19, 2018 Bayer Leverkusen coach Heiko Herrlich before the match REUTERS/Leon Kuegeler DFL regulations prohibit any use of photographs as image sequences and/or quasi-video

BERLIN (Reuters) - Bayer Leverkusen have sacked coach Heiko Herrlich after a year and a half, replacing him with Dutchman Peter Bosz, the Bundesliga club said on Sunday.

The 47-year-old Herrlich, who had taken over in 2017, left despite the team’s 3-1 win on Saturday against Hertha Berlin that lifted them to ninth place.

Bosz had briefly coached Borussia Dortmund last year after spells at several Dutch clubs, including Ajax Amsterdam, and a stint in Israel in 2016.

He will take over on Jan. 4 when the team meet up after the winter break ahead of the season restart on Jan. 18, and has signed a contract to 2020.

“Heiko Herrlich gave our team important impulses last year after a very difficult season prior to that and led us back to the international scene,” Leverkusen sports director Rudi Voller said in a statement.

“Until recently we were determined to stick with him as head coach and turn the corner.

“But unfortunately we cannot deny the fact that there is currently a stagnation in the team’s development. We are in an unsatisfactory position at the halfway mark and we considered a change of coach as necessary.”

The 55-year-old Bosz led Ajax to the 2017 Europa League final, which they lost to Manchester United, before joining Dortmund. But a bad run until December 2017 led to his departure that month.

Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; editing by Clare Fallon