Bottom of the Bundesliga: Stuttgart brings in savior to manage again

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Last spring, with Stuttgart sitting just three points above the bottom of the table, the club brought in a man who would steer them clear of relegation and earn the club another chance at life in the top division.

This season, they’ve turned to him yet again, and much earlier, and his task is a much greater one.

Stuttgart has brought in Huub Stevens to take charge as head man, with the club now dead last and three points back of safety.

The 60-year-old Dutchman returns to Stuttgart to replace Armin Veh, a former champion with Stuttgart in 2007, but much less successful this time around. Veh resigned on Sunday just 12 matches into the season, following his most recent failure, a 1-0 loss to Augsburg that left Stuttgart with seven defeats on the year – more than their two wins and three draws combined.

After steering the club to safety last year, Stevens departed for “personal reasons,” but returns now for his eighth stint as manager in the Bundesliga. He has previously taken charge of Schalke, Hamburg, Hertha Berlin, and FC Koln, as well as time with PSV Eindhoven, Red Bull Salzburg, and PAOK in other countries.

When Stevens took over last season – March 9 to be exact – Stuttgart was in a precarious position, but still in 15th with 19 points – tied with two clubs behind them but ahead on goal differential. At that point, the team had slumped to 14 defeats in 23 matches. He picked up points in his first three matches in charge, and ended with three wins and four draws across 11 matches to plant Stuttgart six points above the relegation line and five points ahead of the playoff-bound Hamburg.

This year, the club has suffered its worst start to a Bundesliga season in 40 years, and Veh took full responsibility, saying, “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.” Veh also claimed that it was, “one of those spells when things don’t go your way. That’s ****, so it’s better if I’m no longer around.” After tearing up, Veh told reporters he was “listening to my gut” by resigning.