Bundesliga’s VfB Stuttgart sacks American coach Pellegrino Matarazzo
Bundesliga club VfB Stuttgart fired its head coach, Pellegrino Matarazzo, Monday.
According to a club statement, the American-born coach was relieved of his duties, and no decision has been made regarding a successor.
Matarazzo, who has managed the club for 100 matches, was the only American managing in the German top flight after Jesse Marsch's departure from RB Leipzig last season.
His departure comes as Stuttgart has not won a match in the league this season. The team has lost three in a row, most recently to surprise league leaders Union Berlin.
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“Our journey together at VfB has come to an end. They’ve been eventful and wonderful years with a lot of incredible moments and memories, which will last forever,” Matarazzo said in a statement. “I’ll always be grateful for being given the chance to get my foot on the coaching ladder here. VfB are a special club, which you only understand once you’re a part of it. I wish this team, this club with these fans all the very best and the maximum success.”
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Born in New Jersey, Matarazzo played college soccer at Columbia University before spending his entire professional career in Germany. He took charge of Stuttgart in December 2019 after serving as a youth coach for 1. FC Nürnberg and 1899 Hoffenheim.
The 2019-2020 season saw Matarazzo take Stuttgart from the second division back to the first after the club's relegation the previous season. Stuttgart is a historic Bundesliga club, having won the top flight five times and the DFB-Pokal three times.
“Rino more than met our expectation and even surpassed them in many respects. Even during difficult situations, we never questioned him because we were convinced that he was the best coach for us and our path,” Stuttgart sporting director Sven Mislintat explained. “We started this season with high hopes. Results thus far have unfortunately not lived up to these hopes. We’ve now reached a point at which we believe that parting with Rino is unavoidable. I’m extremely sorry to take this step, and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Rino for his great work for VfB.”
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A highlight of Matarazzo's tenure was Stuttgart's stunning last-minute victory over 1. FC Köln in its final league game.
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Wataru Endo's goal in the 92nd minute of added time saw the club escape relegation.