Hertha BSC Berlin sacked coach Markus Babbel on Sunday amid a war of words, while Borussia Moechengladbach remain fourth after a 1-0 win over FSV Mainz 05 on the last German league weekend of the year.
Hertha announced Babbel had been sacked, six months before his contract expires, with former Eintracht Frankfurt coach Michael Skibbe, currently in charge of Turkish side Eskisehirspor, tipped to replace him.
Having guided Berlin back to the Bundesliga last season, former Liverpool player Babbel had said he would not be extending his contract which expires in June after Saturday’s 1-1 draw with TSG 1899 Hoffenheim.
Things turned ugly soon after, with Babbel, 39, insisting he told the club last month that he would be leaving, but Berlin boss Michael Preetz was adamant Babbel only informed him on Tuesday last week of his plans to leave.
The feud played out in the German media on Sunday, with both Babbel and Preetz accusing the other of lying, before Berlin finally announced they had parted company with the former Bayern Munich defender.
“After the developments of the last two days, culminating in the fact that I was called a liar more than once, both the club and I are left with no choice,” said Preetz, Berlin’s director of sport, as he announced the sacking.
On the pitch, Moenchengladbach completed their best first half of a season in 35 years.
Marco Reus wore a special boot after breaking the little toe on his left foot last month and he set up the only goal in the fifth minute with an incisive ball for Patrick Herrmann to score through Christian Wetklo’s legs.
“We’ll go on and fight for every point,” said Moenchengladbach coach Lucien Favre, whose side remain unbeaten at home. “We’re taking every game as it comes.”
“Mainz were better,” Favre said, and his coaching counterpart agreed.
“It was a draw that we lost,” said Thomas Tuchel, who was sent to the stands early in the second half for a disagreement with referee Peter Gagelmann.
Gagelmann waved away ’Gladbach’s penalty appeals before the interval, when former Borussia player Eugen Polanski appeared to bring down Roman Neustaedter.
Juan Arango should have made it 2-0 in the 67th minute when Wetklo denied the Venezuelan, before Tony Jantschke went close from the resulting corner.
Reus limped off with an injury in the 83rd minute, holding his knee after a collision with Niko Bungert.
“It hurt a lot at the time, but it seems more or less OK now,” Reus said.
Mainz defender Zdenek Pospech appeared to be briefly knocked unconscious after clashing heads with Arango in the 88th minute, but the Czech was able to see out the game.
Earlier on Sunday, Kaiserslautern and Hannover 96 drew 1-1 as each side prolonged their winless streak to seven games in the league.
Mohammed Abdellaoue scored his ninth goal of the season for Hannover in the 13th minute when he capitalized on a mistake by Kaiserslautern defender Mathias Abel. Abel misjudged a hopeful ball forward from Sofian Chahed, allowing the grateful Abdellaoue to collect the loose ball and sweep it through the legs of Kevin Trapp.
For all of Kaiserslautern’s endeavor, Ron-Robert Zieler did not have a save to make until Alexander Bugera’s strong shot in the 65th minute, but Adam Nemec finally equalized three minutes later when Christian Tiffert played the ball left to Olcay Sahan, who crossed for the Slovenian’s first goal of the season.