Huub Stevens helped VfB Stuttgart avoid disaster by staying above the Bundesliga relegation line this season, but the Dutch caretaker manager will not return to the Reds for the 2014-15 campaign.
According to UEFA.com, the 60-year-old coaching veteran will take a break from football after a season-closing loss to Bayern Munich Saturday.
Stuttgart finished the season with three wins, three draws and four losses under Stevens in 10 matches after the sacking of previous manager Thomas Schneider. It wasn't a dominant run by any means, but it was enough to garner Stuttgart 32 points and a 15th-place finish.
Stevens was ultimately happy that he was able to keep the storied club in Germany's top division, per UEFA.com.
I came here with the aim of keeping VfB Stuttgart in the Bundesliga and our arrangement was only for 10 matches. It was a very intense time and one of my most difficult tasks as a coach. I am very proud we achieved our goal. ... My family and I decided to catch up on the break that I had originally planned after leaving (Greek club) PAOK. I want to recharge my batteries.
There is no question that Stuttgart showed improvement under Stevens. Based on the league results during Stevens' first eight matches at the helm for Stuttgart, the club was the seventh-best team in the Bundesliga, according to @OptaFranz:
Now that Stuttgart is safe it can potentially build on the momentum it gained late in the season. Stuttgart has long been an attractive landing spot for potential managers with five German league titles and three German Cup titles all-time.
Stuttgart is currently suffering through a seven-year trophy drought, though, and it might be a tough sell in terms of finding a high-profile replacement for Stevens.
Would Stevens have been a good fit for Stuttgart as a permanent manager?
With that said, the players responded this year when the voice in the locker room changed, so perhaps there is hope for a major step forward next season under a new, permanent manager.
As for Stevens, he did not commit to retiring from football, so there could be some great opportunities available to him if and when he decides to return on a full-time basis.
He took on a nearly impossible situation in one of the world's top leagues, but he managed to motivate Stuttgart to the point that they were able to avoid the ultimate humiliation.
Stevens unquestionably proved his worth at Stuttgart, and his name will certainly bear watching when he re-enters the coaching mix.
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