Hyypia takes over after Leverkusen ditch Dutt

Bayer Leverkusen on Sunday sacked coach Robin Dutt after less than a season in charge following their 2-0 home defeat by Freiburg on Saturday that left them battling to stay in contention for a European spot.

Former Liverpool and Leverkusen defender Sami Hyypia and under-19 boss Sascha Lewandowski were named as interim coaches at last season's runners-up.

The duo, with Hyypia acting as "team chief" and Lewandowski as the coach, will remain in charge "at least" until the end of the current campaign, the club said in a statement.

"I know the team," said Hyypia, who ended his playing career at Leverkusen last season after a decade at Liverpool.

"I believe in this team. We want to show an insecure team... the way to get back to success."

Leverkusen are in sixth place ahead of Werder Bremen and VfL Wolfsburg on goal difference.

Dutt had taken over last year following a successful stint at Freiburg but he struggled at Leverkusen, who were beaten in the Champions League knockout stages by Barcelona last month and also out of the German Cup.

"We just had to act and show a sign that would give our season target of playing internationally a new push," said club boss Wolfgang Holzhaeuser.