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Stuttgart fire coach Veh, Babbel in charge


Hamburg : VfB Stuttgart fired coach Armin Veh Sunday after a string of poor Bundesliga results culminated in a 4-1 hammering at VfL Wolfsburg Saturday.

Stuttgart president Erwin Staudt spoke of a “difficult decision”. He said that former Germany defender Markus Babbel was now in charge and would hopefully “bring the team back on to the road of success”.

Babbel was an assistant coach in Stuttgart after ending his playing career there in 2007. He is now team manager while the daily training is to be conducted by Rainer Widmaier.

Veh, 47, came to Stuttgart in February 2006 and led them to a surprise Bundesliga title in 2007.

Stuttgart finished sixth last season but are now enjoying a poor campaign. The team has slumped to 11th place with a winless run of four games and just one victory in the last seven league matches.

“It was a difficult decision for all they (Veh and assistant Alfons Higl) achieved over the past three years,” said Staudt.

Veh admitted Thursday that he was to blame as well along with other club officials for not having brought the right new players to the club after the 2007 title.

“I can’t lash out at the team because I made mistakes as well,” he said.

But Veh had urged his team around Germany players Mario Gomez and Thomas Hitzlsperger to reverse the negative trend in Wolfsburg instead of going down 4-1 at the team of Felix Magath, himself a former Stuttgart coach.

Veh said after the match his motivation to continue was still big, but he then had to leave after meetings with Staudt and sports director Horst Heldt.

“We reached a situation where we had to act,” said Heldt, who named differences with Veh as another reason for the move on top of the slide.

“We agreed on some issues but didn’t in others. That made the difference,” said Heldt.

The task to motivate the players now lies with Babbel who has little time as Stuttgart have a UEFA Cup date at Italian club Sampdoria on Thursday and host Schalke 04 in the Bundesliga Sunday.

“I talked to the team this morning and told the players that they must live up to their potential. The separation from Armin Veh is no excuse for the players,” said Staudt.

Veh was the second German top flight coach to get his marching orders this season, following Jos Luhukay at Borussia Moenchengladbach.