Christian Gross becomes the first Bundesliga manager to face the sack this season after a woeful start to the domestic campaign which has seen Stuttgart collect just three points from seven matches. Recently, I did an article examining some of the reasons why Stuttgart have been on such a poor run. I came to the conclusion, through comparison to the Hertha Berlin situation of last year, that a loss of big players in the summer transfer window and the failure to replace those players is costing the squad now. Still, though, it’s not like Stuttgart, at least on paper, look like a side who can’t win football matches. That’s down to the manager.
On Stuttgart’s official website, they’ve revealed that Chrisitan Gross will be relieved of his duties as head coach with immediate effect. In his place, Jens Keller will hold the caretaker role until a permanent replacement is found. Stuttgart’s higher-ups commented on the situation in a short press conference.
VfB Stuttgart president Erwin Staudt said:
“I’ve been saying for a few weeks that we have a very special situation here. The poor start in the Bundesliga and being bottom of the table after seven games demands our utmost attention and is top priority at the club. The team and survival in the top flight are at the fore-front now. It’s one of the most difficult situations in the history of the Bundesliga. We are very thankful to Mr. Gross for the work that he did during the latter half of the previous season. He guided the club out of a very critical situation at that period. The decision to appoint Jens Keller was unanimous. His co-trainer will be current under-19 coach Jürgen Kramny.”
Fredi Bobic, the director of sport at the club, added:
“The decision wasn’t easy for those of us here in the sporting administration. We reflected on the past few weeks and held many personal discussions before taking this step. In my discussion with Christian Gross, I saw hardly any possible solutions. I am completely convinced that we are acting in the best interests of the club. We have absolutely every faith in Jens Keller and Jürgen Kramny. I hope we get to see a positive reaction against Schalke. I am completely certain that we can get out of this situation together. I appeal to our fans for their complete support, just as they have offered us in recent weeks.”
A new manager always seems to bring a positive bump to a side. It’s going to be very interesting to see how Stuttgart handle Schalke now. If Schalke lose, will Felix Magath be on the chopping block next?
Finally, Jens Keller, the caretaker manager, said:
“I would like to thank the club for the trust which they have placed in me. I didn’t hesitate for a second when Fredi Bobic called me last night and asked me if I could imagine doing the job. I will do all in my power and really go the distance to help the club. I am very sure that I can reach the team with my character. I expect heart, will, passion and real commitment. Those were the traits I assumed as a player. The team has enough potential to drag themselves out of the dirt. There is not a lot of time until the Schalke game so we’ll need to roll up our sleeves and get stuck in.”
If nothing else, he certainly is excited. Hopefully that positivity and enthusiasm will spread through the Stuttgart ranks and we’ll see a bit of a resurgence from the side. They need it.
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