It was not so long ago that VFB Stuttgart hit rock bottom under Markus Babbel. It did not take long for the fans to scream, “Babbel raus”(Babbel must go). The club management out of frustration and desperation hired Christian Gross to stem the tide of woeful football.
Stuttgart seem to have found its bearings again with Christian Gross in charge. The team defeated Dortmund 4-1 last weekend. It was the fourth win in succesion for Gross. Stuttgart, have not lost a game in five matches under Gross. The team has won 13 points in five matches with Gross as compared to 12 points in fifteen games under Babbel.
It is no mean feet to change the fighting spirit of the players within a short time. The new found cohension and astute style of play from defense to attack can be attributed to Gross. Serdar Tasc, the central defender, put it this way, “the coach shows us our strength. It helps a lot.”
The players do not play with so much insecurity anymore. The rotation principle practised by Babbel has been eradicated. The attacking duo of Pavel Pogrebnjak and Ciprian Marica are one of the most dangerous in the league. Sami Khedira and Christian Träsch are no pushovers in midfield.
Gross, does not mince words with his vision and football philosophy. The coach with the Kojak look, told former captain,Thomas Hitzlsperger, that he has no place in the team. Hitzlsperger, has left Stuttgart for Lazio Rome. Older players like Yildiray Bastürk moved to Blackburn, while Jan Simak, has relocated to Mainz.
Surprisingly, Babbel, has broken his silence on why the team did not function during his reign. In an interview with Bild, he blamed the German football association(DFB) for his predicament. The DFB under the leadership of Mathias Sammer,in the department of coaching, made it compulsory for all Bundesliga coaches to have a coaching license without exception. Babbel, started coaching Stuttgart without a coaching license. He was forced to shuttle between Stuttgart and the sport institutue in Cologne for coaching classes. The double stress according to him, “it was highly stressful when you begin classes from 8 am in the morning till 8 pm in the evening.” He became burnt out and could not cope with trivial issues in Stuttgart that were very important.
Gross, is not swayed by the present euphoria sorrounding the team. He thinks the team can do better. He is also a realist. His mission is to rescue Stuttgart from obscurity. He is doing it with style.