1 of 2
dapd, Ronny Hartmann, File, Associated Press
FILE - In this Oct. 29, 2011 file photo Hertha's coach Markus Babbel grimaces prior to the German Bundesliga soccer match VfL Wolfsburg against Hertha BSC in Wolfsburg, Germany. Hertha Berlin has fired coach Babbel after a disagreement with the club's sporting director. The Bundesliga club said Sunday, Dec. 18, 2011, it has released the 39-year-old coach with immediate effect.

BERLIN — Hertha Berlin has fired coach Markus Babbel after a disagreement with the club's sporting director.

The Bundesliga club said Sunday it has released the 39-year-old coach with immediate effect.

"The developments of the past two days, in particular the developments that culminated in accusing me of lying, left me and Hertha no other choice," sporting director Michael Preetz said at a press conference.

"The trust is simply gone," Preetz said. "My job is to prevent damage to Hertha."

Babbel said on Saturday that he had informed the club he did not wish to extend his contract, which runs to the end of the season.

"I'd be delighted to stay with the team until the end, until the contract runs out," he said after Hertha's 1-1 draw at Hoffenheim.

Babbel said he informed Preetz of his decision during the international break in November, but Preetz said Babbel first told him last Tuesday.

"When someone has another opinion, then maybe he wasn't listening properly," Babbel responded.

Hertha president Werner Gegenbauer backed up his sporting director, rejecting Babbel's claims as "Baron Munchhausen stories."

"I will not allow Michael Preetz to be portrayed as a liar and as someone who is working against Hertha Berlin," Gegenbauer said.

German media reported that former Eintracht Frankfurt coach Michael Skibbe has been lined up as a replacement, although Preetz would not comment on the speculation.

"I can only confirm that we are giving concrete thought to Markus Babbel's successor," Preetz said.

Former Bayern Munich and Liverpool defender Babbel led Hertha to Bundesliga promotion by winning the second division in his first season in charge last year. He also previously coached Stuttgart.

Hertha is currently 11th in the Bundesliga and hosts Kaiserslautern in the third round of the German Cup on Wednesday.

The club said assistant coach Rainer Widmayer would take over training on Monday.