After two disappointing months in charge of first-team affairs at Stuttgart, Jens Keller has been sacked and replaced by Bruno Labbadia, who had been out of a job since being sacked by Hamburg at the end of last season.
Labbadia has been inherited a world of problems, and I don’t think it’s very likely that he’ll be able to lift this Stuttgart side out of the relegation battle and into mid-table safety. First, he must oversee Stuttgart’s final Europa League fixture of the year this Thursday against Odense, and then he’ll have to face Bayern Munich twice in the space of three days, once in a Bundesliga fixture and again in a DFB Pokal match.
I’m sure the Stuttgart board will have some early patience, because it’s unlikely – even with the new manager bump – that he’ll be able to win all three of those matches. Odense should be a walk in the park, especially at home, so that at least makes for a positive start. Then, Bayern Munich travel to Stuttgart and if he can get a win there it’ll really boost morale and lift confidence. If he can get the win, though. If not, it’s the same old story for Stuttgart. Three days later, Bayern Munich are back for more in the cup and I just can’t see this Stuttgart side getting up for another match against Bayern Munich, especially if they were to lose to them on the weekend.
So really, even with Labbadia, it’s going to be the same old story for Stuttgart for at least a little while longer. After the winter break, maybe he’ll be able to pick up the pieces and reorganize the squad. But, based on his relatively short CV, it’s looking unlikely. When you think of the managers that are available at the moment, it’s kind of a disappointment that Bruno Labbadia is the man Stuttgart hired. Why not Martin Jol?