Hoffenheim has fired coach Holger Stanislawski. The Hoppers had been dicking around listlessly all season, and I guess the Pokal defeat at home against 2.Liga Greuther Fürth was the last straw. Stanislawski had joined Hoffenheim in summer, but has been under increasing criticism for Hoffenheim’s continuous decline.
I find it hard to blame things on Stanislawski. He got a lot out of little with St.Pauli, and he’s tried just about everything, including benching “stars” like Ryan Babel and Selad Salihovic. Of course, maybe the constant tinkering has been a problem as well. But I think the deeper reason is that frankly Hoffenheim is only a shell of the squad that caused a furore in their first Bundesliga season, and has been slowly whittled away.
Basically the board is trying to cover their asses by finding a scapegoat. Club patron Dietmar Hopp has indicated that he’s not spending any more money, and indeed he expects Hoffenheim to survive on their own. So the club has been selling their talent that Hopp paid for and replacing them with nobodies. This season and last, the club has had a net inflow of cash along teh lines of 25 million euros, so selling has been the major headline from Hoffenheim. Ralf Rangnick was the architect of Hoffenheim’s success (funded with Hopp’s money), and he objected vehemently when his high priced talent started getting sold, resigning his poisition.
The new coach is going to be Markus Babbel, the ex-Bayern star who did a decent job at Hertha BSC. However, I guess he was running out of gas, and told the club that he was exhausted and would be leaving at the end of the season. Always on the lookout for the best interest of players and staff, the Hertha board fired his ass instead. He’ll face a difficult challenge, perhaps not so much this year, as Hoffenheim has a 6 point cushion above relegation. But they’ve been pretty listless, and unless Babbel can light a fire, you’d have to expect the downward trend to continue next season.