Stuttgart fires coach Markus Babbel

Stuttgart fired coach Markus Babbel on Sunday after eight games without a win in the Bundesliga and named Christian Gross to succeed him.

Gross, a 55-year-old Swiss, previously led FC Basel to the Champions League second round six years ago. His first game in charge will be Wednesday in the Champions League when Stuttgart can advance to the knockout stage if it beats the Romanian club Unirea Urziceni.

Gross, who once played for Bochum in the Bundesliga, also coached Tottenham and Grasshoppers Zurich.

He won two Swiss championships with Grasshoppers Zurich and four more with Basel.

Stuttgart confirmed the dismissal of Babbel and his two assistants late Sunday, before announcing the appointment of Gross.

About 3,000 angry supporters protested in front of the club’s headquarters Saturday after 10-man Bochum rallied to earn a 1-1 draw at Stuttgart. Police used clubs and pepper spray to disperse the rowdy crowd and three fans were arrested while two officers were injured.

Stuttgart is in the relegation zone in 16th place after finishing third last season.

Babbel, a former defender for Bayern Munich and Liverpool, took over at the club in November 2008. Stuttgart was struggling at the time but Babbel guided the team to a Champions League berth.