Schalke sack general manager Mueller

BERLIN - Schalke 04 sacked general manager Andreas Mueller on Monday after a disappointing season so far, but have kept faith in their Dutch coach Fred Rutten.

"The board of Schalke has today granted Andreas Mueller leave," the Gelsenkirchen club said in a brief statement on their website. "This is the result of talks between the board chairman and Andreas Mueller."

Schalke fans had vocally been demanding Mueller's removal as well as Rutten for some time.

Schalke, who finished third in the Bundesliga last season, are in eighth place, nine points off the top.

They were also eliminated from the Champions League competition as well as the UEFA Cup and last week were knocked out of the German Cup quarter-finals by visiting second-division Mainz.

A nervous 1-0 win over Cologne on Friday did little to improve the atmosphere within the club.

Mueller made 200 Bundesliga appearances for Schalke as a player, also winning the UEFA Cup with them in 1997.