NUREMBERG, Germany (AP) -- Struggling Nuremberg fired Dutch coach Gertjan Verbeek on Wednesday in a bid to stave off Bundesliga relegation with three games of the season remaining.
The club announced that Verbeek and assistant Raymond Libregts were dismissed with immediate effect. Roger Prinzen, the coach of the under-23 team, will take charge until the end of the season, together with former player Marek Mintal.
"The decision wasn't easy for us. Gertjan always worked meticulously," Nuremberg sporting director Martin Bader said. "But staying in the league has the highest priority for Nuremberg."
Nuremburg was second from bottom and five points from safety after eight defeats in nine games, most recently 4-1 at home to Bayer Leverkusen on Sunday.
Prinzen was in charge for one game last October, a 1-1 draw at Eintracht Frankfurt, after Nuremberg sacked Michael Wiesinger and Armin Reutershahn.
"Roger knows the team and has already shown that he can help it quickly in a difficult situation," Bader said. "He's a positive coach who approaches the task realistically, but also with the necessary optimism."
Verbeek started well after Wiesinger's departure but ultimately managed only five wins in 22 games. German media reports suggested he lost the backing of some of the players.
Nuremberg was one point above bottom side Eintracht Braunschweig and one behind Hamburger SV in the relegation playoff place. Stuttgart, four points ahead of Hamburg, appeared out of reach.