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Dec 12, 2010

Stuttgart axe Keller, appoint Labbadia

Stuttgart have sacked manager Jens Keller just two months into his tenure and replaced him with former Bayer Leverkusen and Hamburg coach Bruno Labbadia.

• Saturday's German Bundesliga round-up

Former Stuttgart defender Keller took over from Christian Gross in October after being promoted from his role as assistant coach and started with a win in the Europa League against Getafe.

The team claimed seven points from Keller's first four Bundesliga matches in charge but their last victory came on November 7, one of just three league wins all season.

Friday's 2-1 defeat by Hannover spelled the end for Keller with Cologne's victory on Saturday leaving Stuttgart second bottom of the Bundesliga, two points ahead of Borussia Monchengladbach who play later today.

A statement on the club's official website read: "VfB Stuttgart have relieved Jens Keller of his duties as head coach."

Labbadia will now try his hand at lifting the club away from the relegation zone and to continued success in the Europa League.

"I am really motivated for this challenge,'' said Labbadia as he was presented at a press conference. "The situation is delicate. We have no time to lose and every day counts.

"The whole environment, the club and above all the players have now got to do all they can to master this situation. I have a clear plan in my mind and the next 10 days are the priority.''

Stuttgart end the calendar year with a Europa League clash with Odense on Thursday before hosting Bayern Munich in both the Bundesliga and the DFB-Pokal in the space of four days.

After Friday's defeat, the club's board decided now was the right time to make a change and try and salvage something from the remainder of the year.

"Stuttgart finds itself in one of the most difficult situations in recent years, not only due to the league position, but also because of the way the team is playing,'' explained president Erwin Staudt.

"We have been considering what options we had for a while and we are convinced that now is the right time for a new start with new methods, a new approach and new faces.''

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