Coach Pierre Littbarski conceded he may have underestimated the challenge that FC Vaduz faced in avoiding relegation in Switzerland, saying: "I knew what I was getting in to when I joined FC Vaduz but I didn't know it would be so hard."
With four games to go, the Liechtensteiners – who play in the Swiss championship since there is no league in their native country – are eight points adrift at the foot of the table. The best they can hope for is to make up nine points on second-bottom FC Sion and earn a shot at a relegation play-off game against the side that finishes as runners-up in the second division. Otherwise relegation looms.
"I knew what I was getting in to when I joined FC Vaduz but I didn't know it would be so tough," said the 49-year-old former German international, who took the helm in November while his side were still eighth in the ten-team table. Now without a win in eight games, Vaduz have conceded 70 goals in 32 league games – including a recent 6-0 mauling by BSC Young Boys.
"When I started my work here I wanted us to play attractive football and establish ourselves in the top flight," said 1990 FIFA World Cup winner Littbarski, who is under contract until 2010 in his dual role as coach and sporting director with the perennial Liechtenstein Cup winners. "I was wrong. I realised quickly that I did not have the players I needed to play that way."
Given that Vaduz need to win against league leaders FC Zürich, AC Bellinzona and then Sion in their next three games, survival looks unlikely, but after the weekend's 4-2 loss to Neuchâtel Xamax FC, Littbarski promised to stand by the club. "I will definitely be coach here next season as well," he said. "I want to build a hard-hitting and strong team that will play good, successful football."
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