Former Stuttgart captain Matthieu Delpierre has warned his old club they must find stability if they are to avoid another relegation scrap in 2015-16.
Stuttgart have been saved by Huub Stevens in the past two Bundesliga seasons, with the Dutch coach taking charge in the latter stages of both campaigns to lead the Baden-Wurttemberg-based club to safety.
Despite having saved Stuttgart from being relegated from the Bundesliga for only the second time in their history, Stevens was replaced by Alexander Zorniger in May.
For Delpierre – who was part of the club’s last Bundesliga-winning side in 2006-07 – that decision underlines the lack of stability that has plagued Stuttgart since they won the title.
“After winning the championship, maybe the transfer business was not the best and they renovated the stadium and paid a lot of money for that,” Delpierre told Omnisport on Saturday.
“It’s difficult to say but a lot of change, a lot of management change and many coaches in the last five, six years [has also played a role]. So they have lacked stability in the club and that’s why the last few years have been bad.”
Since Stuttgart won the title under Armin Veh in 2007, the club has changed their coach nine times.
In 2014-15, Stevens was installed as coach for the last 10 matches, replacing Veh – who was in his second stint in charge – with Stuttgart bottom of the Bundesliga.
Under Stevens, Stuttgart won five of their remaining games, including the last three, to secure their Bundesliga status on the final day of the season with a come-from-behind 2-1 victory over Paderborn.
“It was very important because it’s always difficult to go down and then come back to the first division,” Delpierre said.
Last season, Delpierre claimed his first piece of silverware since his success with Stuttgart, helping Melbourne Victory to the A-League premiership and championship in his first year with the Australian club.
The French central defender reckons Stuttgart have all the ingredients to challenge for Bundesliga again someday, although he warns “they first need to be stabilised” after finishing 12th, 15th and 14th over the past three seasons.
“Stuttgart is a big city and they love football – not just Stuttgart but the entire area around Stuttgart,” Delpierre said.
“They have the support from big industry… and they have a big history in the Bundesliga.”
Stuttgart will start their new campaign against Cologne on Sunday.
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