VfB Stuttgart have ended the ten-month reign of coach Christian Gross with the club bottom of the German Bundesliga.
Stuttgart have managed only three points from seven games this season, prompting the board's decision to remove Gross and appoint his assistant Jens Keller as coach for Saturday's match at second-from-bottom FC Schalke 04.
"After a comprehensive analysis of our situation, Christian Gross has today been relieved of his duties as head coach of VfB Stuttgart with immediate effect," a club statement read.
Keller, 39 and a veteran of 142 Bundesliga outings with VfB, TSV 1860 München, VfL Wolfsburg, 1. FC Köln and Eintracht Frankfurt, said: "I did not hesitate for a second when [Stuttgart sporting director] Fredi Bobic called me last night and asked me [to take over]. I will ask the players for heart, will, passion and commitment."
Gross, 56, had replaced Markus Babbel on 6 December last year with Stuttgart struggling much as they are now. The former FC Wil, Grasshopper-Club, Tottenham Hotspur FC and FC Basel 1893 coach had an immediate impact, VfB picking up more points than any other team in the second half of the Bundesliga campaign to rise ten places and finish sixth.
Despite their domestic woes this term, the Swabian outfit have performed well in the UEFA Europa League. Stuttgart knocked out Molde FK and ŠK Slovan Bratislava to reach the group stage where they have beaten BSC Young Boys and Odense BK to sit top of Group H.
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