Struggling Wolfsburg hires Bruno Labbadia as coach
WOLFSBURG, Germany (AP) — Relegation-troubled Wolfsburg has hired Bruno Labbadia as coach to replace Martin Schmidt, who quit on Monday.
The Volkswagen-backed club says it agreed on Tuesday to work with the 52-year-old Labbadia until summer 2019, and he is to take charge of his first training session in the afternoon.
Wolfsburg managing director Tim Schumacher says, “We’re delighted that we could win Bruno Labbadia for the club. Now we have to look forward and approach our tasks with calmness and unity.”
Labbadia, a former striker, has previously coached Bayer Leverkusen, Stuttgart, and Hamburger SV among others.
“I feel well and rested and am very much looking forward to working with my new team,” Labbadia said.
Schmidt resigned with 11 rounds of the Bundesliga remaining after saying the club needed new stimulating from the coaching area and that he needed to take the increasing pressure both off himself and the club.
Wolfsburg is just one point ahead of Schmidt’s former side, Mainz, in the relegation playoff place. The sides meet in a high-stakes clash on Friday.
Schmidt’s move was unexpected with Schumacher saying, “we do not fully understand all his reasons.”
Schmidt took over on Sept. 18 after Wolfsburg fired his predecessor Andries Jonker. He lost only five of his 19 Bundesliga games, but 11 ended in draws. Wolfsburg won only three league games under Schmidt.