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Sports

Stuttgart hire Stevens to lead relegation battle

Stuttgart have appointed the Dutchman Huub Stevens to help in their battle to avoid the drop after sacking coach Thomas Schneider. Fans will be hoping for better times, the team having lost eight of their last nine.

On Sunday, the struggling Bundesliga side Stuttgart announced the signing of former Schalke boss Huub Stevens, hours after they sacked coach Thomas Schneider.

Stevens begins the job officially taking training on Monday, kicking off an effort to prevent Stuttgart from only their second relegation since 1975. His contract runs until the end of the season.

"Huub is highly motivated and has plenty of experience in dealing with this sort of situation," Stuttgart director of sport Fredic Bobic said.

The 60-year-old Stevens, who has been out of a job since he was sacked by Greek side PAOK Salonika in August, said he was relishing the task.

"I will try with everything that I have available to me. I'm burning, I'm really excited," he said.

Eight losses, one draw

The decision to axe Schneider was taken after the side drew 2-2 at home against Eintracht Braunschweig in the Bundesliga on Saturday, which followed a run of eight defeats in the league.

"The board took this decision together with Thomas Schneider," said Stuttgart President Bernd Wahler, also indicating that 41-year-old Schneider would still play a role in the club. "The current sporting situation forced those with responsibility at the club to take this difficult step," he added.

Stuttgart becomes Stevens' fifth Bundesliga club. He previously won the UEFA Cup and two German Cups with Schalke, having had two stints with the Gelsenkirchen club, who sacked him in December 2012. Stevens also coached Hertha Berlin, Hamburg and Cologne.

Joining Stuttgart in the relegation dogfight are Werder Bremen, Hamburg, Nuremberg and Freiburg in the coming weeks with 10 matches left before the end of the season.

rc/mkg (AFP, AP, dpa)

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