Bruno Labbadia is facing relegation-threatened VfB Stuttgart after just under four months. The coach could not stop the free fall towards the 2nd league. Markus Gisdol has already been traded as a successor, but should probably not be a candidate for the Swabians.
Wrapped up warm and with a rigid face, Bruno Labbadia strolled onto the Stuttgart training ground on Sunday morning. Surprisingly, the 57-year-old headed the unit for substitute players on Mercedesstrasse, despite rumors and media reports about his dismissal at the Bundesliga bottom. The management of VfB met in the background and took their time – although Labbadia’s rescue mission with the Swabians after the 0:3 (0:0) bankruptcy at Union Berlin seems to have failed after just under four months. A final decision could be made on Monday.
A few hours after the final whistle on Saturday, the Picture-Zeitung already reported the separation as perfect. Sports director Fabian Wohlgemuth did not want to confirm this, although he also avoided a clear commitment to Labbadia. “It makes no sense at all to comment on personnel issues after the game out of frustration and emotion,” said Wohlgemuth. But his words left plenty of room for interpretation. Many names are traded as successors. Contrary to initial reports, Markus Gisdol should not be a candidate SID and table football to report.
Things were discussed “in peace” on Sunday. However, Wohlgemuth also said: “We will not be idle and watch the sinking.” If a club is at the bottom of the table with 20 points on the 26th match day, such statements often result in a change of coach.
VfB Stuttgart: Fabian Wohlgemuth avoids a clear statement
Wohlgemuth left it open whether Labbadia would still be on the bench in the quarter-finals of the DFB Cup on Wednesday (6 p.m.) at second division club 1. FC Nürnberg. Only so much: “We go public with facts.” However, the facts speak against Labbadia.
There has been just one win in eleven league games since he took charge on December 5 – and VfB are now five games without a win.
A truly unfortunate record, but Labbadia put his personal fate on the back burner. “It’s not about me, it’s about how we manage to stay in the league,” said the 57-year-old: “As far as I’m concerned, to be honest, that’s the least of my interest.”
But who should save VfB from relegation? Labbadia is the third VfB coach this season after Pellegrino Matarazzo was sacked in October and Michael Wimmer helped out on an interim basis.
The tense mood that would await a Labbadia successor was shown after the clap in Köpenick, when the 2,500 fans who had traveled with them asked the players to report to the curve. The supporters had already unrolled a banner with the inscription “Like up your responsibility – now question everything” when VfB let Union overrun them in the second half.
“We’re bottom of the table, so it’s like that criticism rains down. No one sees what’s positive, only what’s negative,” Labbadia commented on the fans’ criticism, and his goalkeeper Fabian Bredlow added: “You have it Felt resentment, but the fans appealed that we still had enough games and that we had to work our asses off, to put it bluntly.” The only question is: with or without Bruno Labbadia?