Bayer Leverkusen have sacked the head coach Roger Schmidt after Saturday’s disastrous 6 – 2 defeat to Borussia Dortmund.

Schmidt took up the position at Leverkusen in April 2014 after a successful period with RB Salzburg in Austria. Last season he took the team to a third place finish in the Bundesliga.

However, this season the results and performances have been significantly poorer and the defeat at Dortmund, the team’s fourth defeat in six league games, saw the club drop to ninth place. The team are also facing an early exit from the knockout stages of the Champions League after losing their last 16 first leg home meeting against Atletico Madrid 4 – 2 last month.

On Sunday Leverkusen announced on its official website that they have “parted company” with Schmidt. The statement said, “The decision was made by the shareholders committee on the recommendation of the club and sporting management. An announcement on the appointment of the coach will follow in due course.”

Michael Schade, the club’s chief executive, added that due to the string of poor results “after careful consideration we have reached this painful yet unavoidable decision in the best interests of Bayer.” He said that it was a difficult step to take and that the team have a lot to thank Schmidt for. He also pointed out that during his time in charge the team have reached the Champions League group stage three times.

The club’s sporting director Rudi Voller described Schmidt as “an absolute top coach” who he has always fully supported. However, he said that the team needs to act now in order to stay in touch with their targets.

He added, “Our team has great quality but unfortunately we have seen far too little of that this season. Following the departure of Roger Schmidt it is down to the players to show they still have that quality.”