VfB Stuttgart could become an elevator team: there is a risk of the third relegation from the Bundesliga within seven years. That would cost the club dearly, “the situation is serious,” says the boss. Returnee Bruno Labbadia is looking forward to the “thrill”.

CEO Alexander Wehrle has warned of the consequences of VfB Stuttgart’s third fall into the 2nd Bundesliga within seven years. “A possible relegation in 2023 is not comparable to 2019 or 2016,” said the 47-year-old: “There are two and a half years of Corona in between, with a Corona loss of 90 million euros, a stadium investment of 130 million euros, and a possible relegation would mean more than 40 million lost sales for VfB Stuttgart. The situation is serious.”

VfB overwinters as table 16. on the relegation rank of the Bundesliga with only one point ahead of the first direct relegation zone. With Bruno Labbadia as the successor to the coach Pellegrino Matarazzo, who was released in October, and Fabian Wohlgemuth as the new sports director after the separation from Sven Mislintat, the Swabians are looking for a new start. “Bruno Labbadia accepts this situation. He is a very experienced Bundesliga coach. He knows the Bundesliga and he can stay up,” said Wehrle.

Labbadia is aware of the difficulty and importance of his rescue mission at VfB Stuttgart and wants to approach it primarily as a communicator. “It’s certainly not the easiest task I’ve chosen,” said the 56-year-old. “It’s probably because I always need a certain thrill and a challenge.” The club has “a force in all directions,” he said. “You have the opportunity to take a step forward with him.” That also irritated him.

Labbadia, who was VfB coach from December 2010 to August 2013 and was last without a club for almost two years, reported that he had deliberately decided for a long time not to take on a new job. Now is the right time for a comeback, he explained. “Now is a good time because I have the opportunity to influence the team. They need that too.” Labbadia announced many talks for the coming days. “We have to get into the players’ minds,” said the coach, who didn’t want to reveal much about his tactical plans just yet. He values ‚Äč‚Äčcommunication.