The official website for European football

Armbands mean sink or swim for Stuttgart

Published: Wednesday 9 December 2009, 8.48CET
Christian Gross said he needed "eleven captains" as he is thrown straight in at the deep end in his first outing as VfB Stuttgart coach with the German side having to beat FC Unirea Urziceni to go through from Group G.
by Steffen Potter
from Stuttgart
Armbands mean sink or swim for Stuttgart
Matthieu Delpierre will continue as Stuttgart captain for now ©Getty Images

Tournament statistics

StuttgartUnirea Urziceni

Goals scored10
 
8
Attempts on target47
 
22
Attempts off target52
 
29
Corners36
 
16
Offsides15
 
8
Fouls committed125
 
94
Yellow cards14
 
15
Red cards0
 
0
 
Published: Wednesday 9 December 2009, 8.48CET

Armbands mean sink or swim for Stuttgart

Christian Gross said he needed "eleven captains" as he is thrown straight in at the deep end in his first outing as VfB Stuttgart coach with the German side having to beat FC Unirea Urziceni to go through from Group G.

Christian Gross said he needed "eleven captains" as he is thrown straight in at the deep end in his first outing as VfB Stuttgart coach,
the German side needing to beat FC Unirea Urziceni to progress from Group G at their opponents' expense.

Week of turmoil
In a week of major upheaval at Stuttgart Markus Babbel was replaced by former FC Basel 1893 coach Gross, but in one of his final acts in charge the former Germany defender switched team captain, with Matthieu Delpierre replacing the out-of-sorts – and now out-of-action – Thomas Hitzlsperger. Now the club need to get their heads together for a crucial meeting with Unirea: if they win they will be through to the UEFA Champions League first knockout round; fail and the UEFA Europa League round of 32 beckons.

'New chance'
Gross and Delpierre presented a united front as they fielded questions on Tuesday, even if the defender admitted it will take time for the squad to get on the same wavelength as their new trainer. "We need more time to understand what the coach wants to teach us," said the 28-year-old. "There is one thing I know for certain: he wants to win, as do the rest of us. A new coach breathes life into a team. Every player is being given a new chance to prove himself."

Measured performance
Third from bottom in the Bundesliga where they are without a win in eight games, Stuttgart have everything to prove back at home as they welcome the Romanian champions, with Delpierre looking almost relieved to be off domestic topics. "Unirea are hard to play against," said the Frenchman. "They will play on the counterattack. They did not go for it back in Romania [when the sides drew 1-1] and as they only need a draw I don't think they will do so here. They are very well organised."

'Eleven captains'
Given what he has had to deal with in his first days in his new job, the 55-year-old Gross said he was not considering another change of captain, the armband having recently been taken off the under-performing Hitzlsperger. "There are other more pressing issues," he told uefa.com. "But Delpierre will be captain until the winter break. Then we will see. I don't know the exact reason why there has been a change of captaincy, but I know I am going to need eleven captains tomorrow."

Last updated: 09/12/09 20.48CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2010/matches/round=2000028/match=2000448/prematch/focus/index.html#armbands+mean+sink+swim+stuttgart

  • © 1998-2014 UEFA. All rights reserved.
  • The CHAMPIONS LEAGUE and UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE words, the UEFA Champions League logo and trophy and the UEFA Champions League Final logos are protected by trade marks and/or copyright of UEFA. No use for commercial purposes may be made of such trade marks. Use of UEFA.com signifies your agreement to the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.