At season’s end Saturday, it was confirmed that 1. FSV Mainz 05 Coach Thomas Tuchel and VfB Stuttgart headman Huub Stevens will not return to their clubs for the 2014/2015 Bundesliga campaign. Tuchel led small-budget Mainz to a Europa League play-in berth with the club’s seventh place finish in the Bundesliga table this season, while Stevens took over a sinking Stuttgart club after the firing of Thomas Schneider and did enough to stave off relegation.
Tuchel, 40, had one year left on his contract at Mainz, having put in five years on the sidelines. Both Schalke and Bayer Leverkusen, Champions League clubs with much deeper pockets, have expressed interest in bringing in Tuchel to guide their clubs, but Mainz have thus far refused to release the coach from his contract. According to Managing Director Christian Heidel, Tuchel had informed club management of his desire to leave Mainz after this season back in January and again four weeks ago. But with no release option for the club, Tuchel announced his decision to leave the club, ostensibly to take a year’s break from coaching, and bid farewell to his players Saturday after their 3-2 win over HSV in the season finale.
We will find a solution … You will never hear me say anything against Tuchel
Considered one of the top managers in the Bundesliga, Tuchel served five full seasons as Mainz’ coach. The native of Krumbach played in the FC Augsburg youth ranks before playing professionally for Stuttgarter Kickers and SV Ulm in the early 1990s. He began his coaching career in 2000 with Stuttgart’s U-19 side, learning his craft over five seasons before moving to Augsburg to coach their reserve side.
Hired by Mainz in August, 2009, after the club had gained promotion to the Bundesliga’s first division, Tuchel guided the club to a very respectable ninth place finish in his debut as a senior squad manager. The 2010/2011 saw the coach gain further recognition as Mainz started the season at a blistering pace, earning a record seven consecutive victories and capturing the public’s imagination with their ‘boys band’ attack centering around little-known youngsters André Schürrle, Lewis Holtby, Sami Allagui and Adam Szalai. The club finished fifth by season’s end, but Schürrle left for Leverkusen over the summer while loanee Holtby returned to Schalke. Tuchel was able to keep the team competitive, however, and the club made another rebounded this season by capturing seventh place. Tuchel’s compiled a mark of 72 wins, 46 draws and 64 losses in his time coaching the 05s.
Stevens Leaves Stuttgart
Veteran Dutch coach Huub Stevens, 60. was hired as a fireman by Stuttgart with ten matches remaining in the 2013/2014 campaign to save the club from relegation. He did just that. The third Stuttgart coach of the season, Stevens replaced longtime Stuttgart youth coach Thomas Schneider, who revived the club’s fortunes in the Hinrunde only to see the club spiral downward in the New Year as they regularly surrendered leads to drop points weekly. Stevens won three of his matches along with three draws and the club survived the drop with a season ending 32 points, enough for 15th place. Stuttgart’s survival was also aided by the almost total lack of results by fellow relegation battlers Hamburger SV, 1. FC Nürnberg and Eintracht Braunschweig during the final weeks of the season.
Stevens, the former Dutch national team coach who also led eleven club sides before coming on to rescue the Swabians, did not announce if he was retiring from coaching. He stated that
I came here with the aim of keeping VfB Stuttgart in the Bundesliga and our arrangement was only for 10 matches. It was a very intense time and one of my most difficult tasks as a coach. I am very proud we achieved our goal. … My family and I decided to catch up on the break that I had originally planned after leaving (Greek club) PAOK. I want to recharge my batteries
Stevens had coached at four other Bundesliga clubs, including two stints at Schalke, along with coaching in the Netherlands, Austria and Greece, before joining Stuttgart in March.