FRANKFURT, Germany -- Bundesliga club Hoffenheim fired coach Markus Babbel on Monday after four straight losses.
The expected dismissal came one day after a 4-1 home loss to Werder Bremen.
"It's a difficult day for all of us but we felt we needed a new beginning," Hoffenheim sporting director Andreas Mueller said. "Having seen the match yesterday, I was convinced we had to this."
Babbel was in charge for less than 10 months. Hoffenheim has only 12 points from 15 matches and is third from last, in the relegation playoff place. The team has conceded a league-high 36 goals.
After the loss to Werder, the third straight home defeat, Mueller declined to back Babbel, saying the "situation was precarious."
Babbel will be provisionally replaced by under-23 coach Frank Kramer until the club finds a new coach during the winter break. There are two more rounds in the Bundesliga before it recesses until mid-January.
December remains a bad month for Babbel, a former Germany, Bayern Munich and Liverpool defender. He lost his job in Stuttgart in December 2009 and was also fired by Hertha Berlin in December 2011.
Babbel reshuffled the squad significantly during the off-season, releasing many players, but the moves failed to rejuvenate the stagnating team.
Backed by software millionaire Dietmar Hopp, Hoffenheim jumped from a fifth-division club to the Bundesliga in less than a decade.
It won promotion to the top division in 2008 and led the table at the halfway of its debut season before falling to finish seventh.
But the team has been stagnating and looks set to fight against relegation for the remainder of the season.