German legend Ballack appointed manager of relegated Stuttgart
Former Germany captain Michael Ballack has been appointed as the new manager of Stuttgart following their relegation from the Bundesliga.
The 39-year-old joins Die Roten on an initial 12-month contract in what will be his first managerial position following his retirement from professional football in October 2012.
Ballack succeeds Jürgen Kramny who failed to keep Stuttgart from relegation from Germany's top division last season. Kramny will take up a coaching role within Stuttgart's backroom staff, having previously managed Stuttgart II.
Five-time Bundesliga winners Stuttgart have not won the league since 2007 and their relegation last season only confirms their underachievement in recent years.
Ballack was keen to venture into a managerial career and actively sought out the Stuttgart job, applying for the job and having what was clearly a meaningful discussion with president Bernd Wahler about his vision for the club.
This proposed vision must surely start with the club's promotion back to the top flight but having lost a key player in Timo Werner, things may be a little more difficult than anticipated for the side.
They have, however, managed to retain the likes of captain Christian Gentner as well as Alexandru Maxim and Filip Kostic - for now, at least - and Sky sources understand that money is there to be spent on additions to the squad.
It is currently unclear what sort of Stuttgart side we will see under Ballack's reign, but if it is anything like the former Bayern Munich and Chelsea star during his player then the fans at the Mercedes-Benz Arena should be in for an exciting ride.
During Ballack's first press conference as manager, he was asked about his ambitions and revealed his hopes of coaching Germany at some point in his career:
"I think for me the big, big thing that I would like to achieve is to coach Germany. I absolutely loved captaining them as a player and it would be the biggest honour for me to go back there as a manager.
But for now I am here at Stuttgart, unproven as a manager and I am very grateful for the opportunity to show what I can do. It will be a good season, I am sure."
NOTE: I will be playing on an unofficial transfer update (Pr0's) with transfers up to the date of 1st July. Therefore players like Martin Harnik will still be with the club and not free agents.