Taking over from Rolf Fringer (to whom he had been assistant) after the 1995/96 season, Joachim Löw coached Stuttgart to two fourth places in the Bundesliga (1996/97 and 1997/98 - and at one point heading the table), a DFB-Pokal win and a European Final appearance in the Cup-Winners Cup the season after. Appointed in the first instance as the 'caretaker' manager, he was given the position permanently after five games without a defeat.
The skepticism was never to go away though, with constant inferences from the dinosaurs still inhabiting the planet of his demeanour being 'too nice' to take such a position of responsibility, conjuring up the "Der Nette Herr Löw" tag that stayed for so many years. Exactly a week after the Final in Stockholm, where Stuttgart narrowly lost to a star-studded Chelsea side, Jogi's contract (due to end in 1999) was 'unanimously' terminated by the Stuttgart board.
A succession of coaches followed and they have not reached a European final since.
European Cup-Winners' Cup Final
Zola Touch Clinches Cup For Chelsea
Stuttgart's coach Joachim Löw, rumoured to be on his way out after disagreements with management and players, said he felt his side had the better of the first half.
"We had several changes to score but in the second half we played too many long passes and Chelsea were more difficult to control," Löw said.
Gianfranco Zola was the hero as Chelsea won the European Cup Winners' Cup 1-0 against Stuttgart in Stockholm.He had been on the pitch for barely 30 seconds when Dennis Wise clipped the ball into space down the Chelsea left.
A report on the match from Chelsea FC's Official Website
Press Conference, Stockholm, 12 May 1998
Road to the Final:
Stuttgart: The future of VfB Stuttgart coach Joachim Löw may be riding on the outcome of today's European Cupwinners' Cup semifinal, first leg match against Lokomotive Moscow.
Löw's authority has been steadily undermined since the end of last year, when Stuttgart's form began to dive.
A win against Lokomotiv would turn down the heat a fraction, but rumour has it that regardless of how Stuttgart finish the season, Löw will be sacked sooner rather than later.
His style of easygoing management has been considered responsible for the team breaking down into rival cliques.Löw's quiet manner relies on individual players taking responsibility for their own conduct both on and off the field - but this trust has been abused often, to the detriment of the entire team.
2 April 1998, Online Newspaper Archives
Der lange Abschied des netten Trainers Joachim Löw - 22 May 1998
Giovane Élber's goal from the Final against Energie Cottbus, and Jogi celebrates!
More footage of Jogi from the match
An article on the DFB-Pokal win, originally on dfb.de to celebrate Jogi's birthday in 2018.
Footage of the famous 'head shave' of Jogi by Thomas Schneider at the victory celebrations - hence the unusually short hair for a while afterwards!
VfB Stuttgart 0 - 2 Fortuna Düsseldorf, Spieltag 7, 21.09.1996
MSV Duisberg 3 - 1 VFB Stuttgart, Spieltag 15, 24.11.1996
Kaiserslautern 4 - 3 VfB Stuttgart, Bundesliga Spieltag 6, 14.09.1997