Bruno Labbadia has it anything but easy. On the one hand, the coach of VfL Wolfsburg has to form a team in the shortest possible time that is ready to fight for keeping up in the Bundesliga. On the other hand, the 52-year-old has to keep answering the questions of why. Why have the Green-Whites fallen into the relegation battle for the second time in a row? A difficult tightrope walk for Labbadia, who is not responsible for the crash as a newcomer. Before the home game on Saturday (18.30 clock) against Schalke 04, the VfL coach let his opinion, however, through.
Who as 15. the table despite a large budget must fear for the class preservation, simply can not have done everything right. The initiated upheaval in the past summer has led again into the table cellar. "VfL went into it with a super ambition, but many things have gone in a different direction," says Labbadia, always with the aside that he can't evaluate certain things "because I wasn't there". But this is precisely what gives him the unbiased view that is often lacking in those who have spent months dealing with the ie.
In his almost 17-month sabbatical between leaving Hamburger SV and joining Wolfsburg on 20. February was Labbadia in matters VfL also only an observer from the outside, one of many. However, the problems had already been seen: A newly assembled team, plus the many absences and the situation from the previous year, when they had to go into the relegation, still in the back of the mind. "These are all reasons," said Labbadia, "but I prefer to start like this, to look for the main blame with us. How did they take it, what did they do about it? I find it difficult to judge. But this is a very special situation, and I had the feeling at the beginning that you did not recognize where you are right now."
Labbadia has been with the Green-Whites for just over three weeks, but his analysis is the most honest and accurate that has been heard from a VfL manager in a long time. The 52-year-old speaks the obvious and lets thereby – even if that was certainly not its intention – its superiors around the sport director Olaf Rebbe in a bad light stand. "I can't take the club out, that would be a mistake. Otherwise we would not be where we are now," says Labbadia. Now, however, it is important to accept the situation. "Now you can say: keep it up. Or we try everything," continues the coach.
He relies on the second approach. A lot of groundwork is needed. The fact that something has gone wrong at VfL has also been recognized by a player who will be playing for Schalke 04 tomorrow: the still popular ex-Wolfsburg player Naldo. The Brazilian said in the run-up to the game: "The mentality is missing at VfL. In my time we always tried everything on the pitch. But now the self-confidence is not there, besides there are no leading players."
Two heads, two clear opinions. "Now we have to make the best of it," Labbadia remains pragmatic. He has no other choice…