When the VfB Stuttgart bosses called a special meeting on Saturday night following the Swabians 3-0 defeat at Union Berlin, it seemed only a formality that the news would be announced on Sunday morning that Bruno Labbadia was being fired and a second coaching change of the season was on the cards.
As it turned out only silence emanated from the club and as it stands Labbadia remains in the Stuttgart hot seat. But for how much longer?
Rumours were circulating even before the defeat in the capital that Labbadia’s time would be up with a loss and that Markus Gisdol was being lined-up to replace the incumbent trainer, who himself succeeded Pellegrino Matarazzo at the end of the Hinrunde. Gisdol however now appears to be out of the running, but the problem Stuttgart now have is the lack of suitable (or willing candidates).
It is widely believed that patience has run out with Labbadia, whose reputation as a relegation-saving specialist has deserted him at the Mercedes-Benz Arena. The vital points needed to avoid the dreaded drop just don’t seem to be on the horizon and time is running out.
Stuttgart face 1.FC Nürnberg in the quarter-finals of the DFB Pokal on Wednesday before they face a trip to relegation rivals VfL Bochum next Sunday. If Labbadia takes control of the team on Wednesday, don’t hold your breath that he will also do so next weekend.
It looks a question of Stuttgart just finding someone to take over at this late stage of the season with the prospect of relegation a real possibility. The latest name being mentioned is that of former player Alexander Blessin.
The 49-year-old has previous coaching experience with Leipzig Juniors, Belgian side KV Oostende and Geno. He has been out of work since last spring when he failed to prevent Genoa’s relegation to Serie B.
Ludovic Magnin is another name being touted, but the prospect of swapping a promotion push with his current club Lausanne-Sport for a relegation fight with VfB won’t appeal is not a great pull-factor.
Whatever the final outcome (or whoever), Bruno Labbadia might as well start to clear his desk as the writing is very much on the wall for his second stint as Stuttgart trainer.