COLOGNE, Germany (AP) — Struggling Cologne has parted company with managing director Joerg Schmadtke after the side's winless start to the Bundesliga.

The club says its board of management and Schmadtke came to differences of opinion on its future sporting direction and "for this reason they decided by mutual consent to terminate the contract that was due to run till 2023 with immediate effect."

Cologne president Werner Spinner says the club is grateful to Schmadtke for helping the side return to the Bundesliga and for playing "a big part in ensuring that we qualified for European football after 25 years."

Schmadtke joined Cologne in 2013 and helped it secure promotion as second division champion in 2014. He oversaw steady progress with the side finishing 12th in 2015, ninth in 2016, and then fifth last season.

This season has not gone to plan, however. Cologne is bottom of the Bundesliga with seven defeats and two draws from nine rounds.