Armin Veh, 53, announced on Monday his resignation as manager of VfB Stuttgart. The veteran manager, who coached Stuttgart to its last Bundesliga championship during the 2006/2007 season, took responsibility for Stuttgart’s poor start to the current season, a start that has garnered the Swabians only 9 points after 12 league matches. The club is suffering its worse start to a season in 40 years. The Baden-Württemberg side this season also suffered the indignity of being knocked out of the DFB Pokal Cup in the first round, a competition in which they’ve advanced to the semifinals and to the finals in recent seasons.
It was a very difficult step for me because the club and the team are in my heart. But I had to do it because I was convinced that it was the right thing to do. The team is better than the place in the standings shows, nine points from 12 matches are simply too few. I am responsible for that. And sometimes I missed a little luck in some close matches
Veh’s resignation comes less than five months after accepting a second stint as Stuttgart’s coach. His announcement comes almost exactly six years after being dismissed by Stuttgart in November, 2008. Veh coached VfL Wolfsburg, Hamburger SV and Eintracht Frankfurt before returning to VfB this summer. His resignation also comes two months after the club had dismissed Director of Sport Fredi Bobic, who held that position for more than four years.
Sunday’s 1-0 loss at home to FC Augsburg seemed to signal the breaking point for Veh. Stuttgart had to play down a man for an hour following the dismissal of defender Daniel Schwaab, and held off their opponents until a handball called against Stuttgart’s Adam Hlousek, which obviously occurred but looked unintentional. Stuttgart’s bad break allowed FCA captain Paul Verhaegh to successfully convert the penalty, giving the visitors all three points and leaving Stuttgart stranded at the bottom of the Bundesliga table.
Veh alluded to “bad luck” as an ingredient in Stuttgart’s horrid season, a campaign which has seen the club take early leads in some matches only to surrender them late or else give up early goals to their opponents and making a valiant attempt for a comeback but usually falling short. Veh stated that “sometimes you fight and fight but can’t change it. I’m listening to my gut.”
Veh inherited a situation in which the club went through three coaches last season, with incumbent Bruno Labbadia fired after four league matches and replaced by reserve side coach Thomas Schneider, who had initial success but could not guide his team to safety. Veteran Huub Stevens took on the “fireman” role last season, keeping Stuttgart from being relegated, but barely, as their five point margin of safety was more to do with the lack of results down the stretch by relegation zone clubs Hamburger SV, Eintracht Braunschweig and 1.FC Nürnberg than any great run of play by the Swabians under Stevens, who resigned immediately following last season’s end.
Stuttgart’s next match is this Friday when they travel to the Black Forest to take on SC Freiburg, a club that also has struggled early this season but has righted their course with two wins and a draw in their last three contests. Stuttgart assistants Armin Reutershahn and Reiner Geyer are tasked with preparing the club for Friday’s game, as the club has yet to make any announcement concerning Veh’s successor.
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