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Hertha Berlin sack Skibbe after five games

The final straw was Saturday's 5-0 defeat at VfB Stuttgart with four of the goals coming in a disastrous first half.

On Sunday morning, television pictures showed around 200 fans marching through the snow to the club's headquarters to protest about results.

"After five defeats in a row and the 5-0 thrashing in Stuttgart, we feel compelled to take this step," general manager Michael Preetz told a news conference.

Skibbe, 46, had replaced Markus Babbel, the coach who led them back to the Bundesliga last season and was fired in December after a public spat over his contract.

"I'm deeply disappointment by the performance we have delivered," Skibbe said after Saturday's defeat. "The first half was the worst that I have experienced as a coach.

"It was so bad that I can't find words to describe it."

Hertha have dropped to 15th in the 18-team Bundesliga and are just two points ahead of Kaiserslautern in the relegation play-off spot. Four of their defeats under Skibbe came in the Bundesliga with one in the German Cup.

Skibbe, who began coaching at the age of 22 after a knee injury cut short his playing career, is the sixth coaching victim of the Bundesliga season.

He follows Babbel, Marcus Sorg (Freiburg), Michael Oenning (Hamburg SV), Holger Stanislawski (1899 Hoffenheim) and Ralf Rangnick, who quit Schalke 04 for health reasons.

It was Skibbe's second Bundesliga firing in less than a year after he was dismissed by Eintracht Frankfurt last March. In between, he spent six months at Turkish side Eskisehirspor.