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On the spot

On the Spot: Armin Veh

Armin Veh was released from his Job at VFB Stuttgart after over 1000 days and winning the championship in the 2006/2007 season.


Armin Veh, 47 years old, and Stuttgart coach for more than 1,000 days. His best season so far was the 2006/ 2007 championship year. But this year's results have been modest - Stuttgart is 11th in the table. And Veh's players have seriously underperformed in their last four matches.


What's going on at the moment? What's not working? Can you say?

Armin Veh:

The effortless style that we had for nearly two years - we seem to have lost it at the moment. We're having trouble asserting ourselves. We're not moving like we should, in some cases we're not willing to move enough. But that's absolutely essential for our game. So when we come up against a strongly defensive side, we've got problems. And we give away points. Take the Cologne match - we were counting on getting three points - or Bielefeld. Otherwise we'd be OK in the table. With 23 points we'd be fifth I think, hypothetically - those five lost points are sorely missed.

Doesn't that effortless style get lost when there's a lot of pressure from outside? For example, are Hoffenheim doing so well because they're not under pressure?

It's very simple. The year we won the championship we had our youngest team, and we had no European competitions. We had that carefree style - you could see it in our game. Hoffenheim remind me a bit of that time when we were playing. It's natural for that to get lost, but we have to find it again. Now we have lots of national players and we play internationally too where there's more pressure. The expectations are higher. So some of that carefree style will disappear because you have something to lose. What we have to ask ourselves is 'how do we get back there?' It's not easy. You can't just push a button - ultimately it's a process.

The old Stuttgart from their championship year has made an appearance a few times this season. Like when Stuttgart ran circles around Werder Bremen. That was truly fine football.

But the match against Cologne was a disaster - nothing seemed to work as Stuttgart made one mistake after another.

When things go badly they go really badly. It's hard to say why...

Of course we have to find the reasons. You just have to be careful not to start acting impulsively just because there's pressure from outside. That's fairly normal. It's easy to find yourself taking steps that you're not really committed to - just because there's this suggestion that you should be taking them. I don't let myself be dictated to. It's not that I'm not willing to listen; there are plenty of interesting viewpoints - sometimes the media has interesting associations or thoughts that we can take on board. But the decisions are made by me - and my coaching staff.

National player Thomas Hitzlsperger's poor form earned him a spell on the bench...

So far, new defender Khalid Boulahrouz hasn't lived up to expectations.

Just like the new midfielder Jan Simak

And what about Jens Lehmann? The ex-national goalkeeper seems to do nothing but complain.

Does this make a coach despair?

A coach isn't the Almighty - he can't take care of everything. You and the coaching team have to try to set new accents - maybe make some changes that will move things forward.

Can you delegate?

Sure. I've been a coach for 18 years and in the first years I did everything myself. Except for the goalkeepers - I never trained them because I'm not a goalkeeper and I don't have a feeling for it. But I did everything else. I was my own assistant, I was fitness coach, mental trainer... I was everything. That's the way it was in the early years, but now I've changed that. In particular in the last two years, ever since I've been in charge, I let my people do things. That means I'm less drained and I'm free to keep an eye on what's going on.

Armin Veh's coaching career began in Augsburg. He was 29 when he took on the job.

In 2002 he started coaching in the Bundesliga - with Hansa Rostock.

Four years later Veh was the surprise new coach of Stuttgart. In 2007 he was voted Coach of the Year.

How do you relax?

For me it's always hard to switch off after a match - whether it's a defeat, a draw or a win. I can never sleep. Everything keeps running through my head. It's still that way even at my age - I can never completely turn off. I just can't. Before a game I sleep fine. But afterwards I keep going over everything in my mind.

And then you talk it over with your dog, yeah?

Yes. You may not believe it, but you can really talk to him.

I can believe it. Horst Hrubesch told us he talks with his horses.

Of course. I'm sure there are many, many animals who could say a lot about the family they live with. I'm convinced of it.