VfB Stuttgart: Returnees as a communicator: Labbadia irritates the thrill

Bruno Labbadia gathered the team around him several times on the training ground.

VfB Stuttgart: Returnees as a communicator: Labbadia irritates the thrill

Bruno Labbadia gathered the team around him several times on the training ground. The rescue mission of the returnee has begun at VfB Stuttgart. Even before the public session, which was attended by around 100 fans, the new coach introduced himself at a press conference - flanked by the new sports director Fabian Wohlgemuth and the still quite new CEO Alexander Wehrle.

The trio Thomas Hitzlsperger, Sven Mislintat and Pellegrino Matarazzo: Once upon a time. Now others want and should keep VfB, which is badly hit both sportingly and financially, in the Bundesliga - especially Labbadia.

Labbadia: "Can influence the team"

"It's certainly not the easiest task I've chosen," said the 56-year-old. "It's probably because I always need a certain thrill and a challenge." The club has "a force in all directions," says the new coach. "You have the opportunity to take a step forward with him." That also irritated him.

Labbadia, who was VfB coach from December 2010 to August 2013 and was last without a club for almost two years, reported that he had deliberately decided for a long time not to take on a new job. Now is the right time for a comeback, he explained. "Now is a good time because I have the opportunity to influence the team. They need that too."

Labbadia announced many talks for the coming days. "We have to get into the players' minds," said the football coach, who didn't want to reveal much about his tactical plans just yet. First he has to take stock and get a feel for what the team needs. There is a lot to do, but things have to be prioritized properly. He attaches great importance to communication, according to Labbadia. That's one of the reasons why he called the players three times this week at 7:30 a.m. to the club grounds and to have breakfast together.

Wehrle: "Labbadia can stay in the league"

Labbadia has proven at his previous stations - also once at VfB - that he can prevent an imminent relegation. "He can stay in the league," said Stuttgart's CEO Wehrle. The returnee was then "able to stabilize and improve a team". Wehrle was largely unimpressed by the criticism that Labbadia's commitment sometimes provoked. A traditional club like VfB involves a lot of emotions, the 47-year-old said. "We will all be measured by our sporting success," announced Wehrle. At the same time, he also campaigned for "calm and cohesion".

Because the situation of VfB is precarious. In the table, the Swabians are in relegation rank 16 before the remaining 19 games of the Bundesliga season - one point ahead of the penultimate. There is a threat of the third crash in the second division within seven years. "A possible descent in 2023 is not comparable to 2019 or 2016," said Wehrle: "There are two and a half years of Corona in between with a Corona loss of sales of 90 million euros, a stadium investment of 130 million euros, and a possible descent would be mean more than 40 million lost sales for VfB Stuttgart."

The Swabians initially left it open whether they would make any changes to the team this winter after the changes in the posts of coach and sports director. "The reflex to reach into the first drawer, we have to do something with the squad, comes too early for me," said Wohlgemuth. One wants to wait and see how the new approach with Labbadia as the successor to interim coach Michael Wimmer and ex-trainer Matarazzo will take effect. The test started on Monday.