Soccer-Schalke sack manager Baum after barren Bundesliga run

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FILE PHOTO: Bundesliga - Schalke 04 v SC Freiburg

(Reuters) - Relegation-threatened Bundesliga club Schalke 04 sacked manager Manuel Baum on Friday after a 28-game winless run in the top-flight and appointed Dutchman Huub Stevens as interim boss.

The 41-year-old Baum's last match was a 2-0 home defeat by Freiburg on Wednesday which left them rooted to the bottom of the standings with just four points after 12 games.

Baum, who had only been in charge for 10 games, is the second coach sacked by Schalke this season after David Wagner was fired in September after 18 games without a league win.

"I spoke to Manuel Baum this morning. I wish him luck for the future," said caretaker boss Stevens, who returns to Schalke for his fourth stint. "My heart is still blue and white. When the club turns to me in difficult times, I can't say no."

Stevens, 67, managed Schalke from 1996-2002 and 2011-12 before stepping in on an interim basis at the end of the 2018-19 season. He led them to a UEFA Cup triumph in 1997 and German Cup wins in 2001 and 2002 plus a Bundesliga runners-up spot in 2001.

"We're right down there and the side has little confidence, so it's harder than last time," added Stevens. "We need to clear our heads. The players need to experience a win, that's the best medicine for a footballer."

Stevens take charge for the home game with Arminia Bielefeld on Saturday which is followed by a German Cup second-round match at Ulm on Dec. 22.

(Reporting by Manasi Pathak in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris)