I’ll be honest with you. After Camargo’s goal made it 2-0 32′ into the first half it was the first time I REALLY felt like we were going to get relegated this year. Down 2-0 to the last place team when you’re tied on points. Not a good place to be. Especially after being the better team for the first 20 or so minutes of the first half.
I’m not exactly sure what, if anything, Labbadia said at halftime to rile up the troops. More than anything else it was his actions that proved the secret ingredient, switching to a 4-3-3 and giving the added pressure needed up front to cause M’gladbach some real problems. It was also our first chance to see what, if anything, Hajnal could do. Hard to make any real observations after just one half but their response with him on (added with the formation change) certainly piques one’s interest for his next appearance. Pogrebnyak’s goal was just an instance of wanting it more than the defender, to beat him to it and get the shot off. The buildup to Harnik’s goal was nice, with Pogrebnyak again with a nice backheel to Boka who set up Harnik for the equalizer.
At this point, as has been most of the year, we’d expect some bit of shoddy defense or bad luck or some other circumstance to muck it all up. And for once (undeservedly) we actually got the break with what should have been Dante’s 2nd goal being disallowed with what was called a foul more on our own guy than on Gladbach. But you won’t see me shedding any tears for M’gladbach for it. We needed this just as much as them, and it’s too bad it came at another struggling team’s expense but at this point it’s about surviving and nothing else.
Pogrebnyak was AGAIN in the mix drawing Dante’s 2nd yellow (in the box) for Gebhart to slot away the PK. I was impressed with the big Russian, he was making his presence felt.
And so we’re still in the relegation zone but that was a HUGE 3 points and hopefully something the boys can build on. The mental errors and shoddy defense (set pieces anyone?) cannot be tolerated and normally down 2-0 you won’t be able to ever snatch all 3 points from most teams, especially on the road. But I’m choosing to focus on the positive here today. We’re going to channel all that positive energy. Deep breaths all together now.
Video highlights below.
It’s hardly the most glitzy matchup of the weekend but definitely one of the more crucial ones as Stuttgart travel to Mönchengladbach. Both teams sit on 16 points and 5 free of the drop zone, a match that neither team can really afford to lose. It would also be a great time for Stuttgart to notch their first away win of the season; better late than never I say.
“Fear is a poor advisor in our current situation. We need to approach this game determinedly and bravely. We can’t afford to hide from it! It’s bound to be an extremely tough battle and, in the end, it’s more than likely that the winner will be the side that holds their nerve.”
The words of trainer Bruno Labbadia. And amen to that. The longer the team sits in the relegation zone the more tense they’ll play and that’s not a good thing. An early goal would do a world of good to calm the nerves.
Delpierre and Cacau are both questionable. Delpierre didn’t practice at all in their final session before the game and Cacau was only there for part of it. It’ll be interesting to see if new signing Tamas Hajnal will get a look if things aren’t going as planned throughout the match.
Much like Stuttgart’s season I have to apologize for this blog being in shambles for months. Hopefully you choose to look at it as an act of mercy during these tumultuous and frustrating times for the club. The team somehow managed to get worse since I last posted, and, surprise surprise, changed coaches yet again. If I run into a spell like this again I’ll make sure that somebody else takes over rather than let the blog sit in ruin. I take responsibility and would remove myself. Something we can only wish would happen for Die Schwaben.
Rather than write out a 2,000 word blog going over everything that’s transgressed since I last posted way back in mid-November I’m just going to touch on the things that happened this past week.
-It looks like Camo will land on his feet after being let go by Stuttgart and will sign for Argentinean side Lanus. Apparently a couple of clubs contacted him while he was home there attending to family matters. Though he was a failed experiment we still wish him the best of luck in his future, far far away from here.
-Stuttgart’s signing on transfer deadline day was Japanese striker Shinji Okazaki from Shimuzu S-Pulse for free. He’s scored 21 times in 38 appearances for Japan, something that will hopefully translate over to more goals for us.
-VfB also picked up Tamas Hajnal on loan from Borussia Dortmund…hoping to get some of that BvB magic. Unfortunately this guy hasn’t really done anything for them so I’m not sure there’s anything to be excited about here. But we’ll throw his picture up here anyway.
-Lastly, VfB updated their website the other day. I guess they’re trying to show they’re making improvements on some level this year. Of course those improvements aren’t on the pitch.
Saturday’s Bundesliga clash between FC Kaiserslautern and Die Schwaben sees a battle between two low-table teams heading in opposite directions. Stuttgart, who have been catatonic most of the year, have improved vastly in the past couple of weeks after their annual coaching change. Kaiserslautern, meanwhile, have seen their season slipping away after a strong start.
Given these current trends, I’d expect all 3 points for visiting Stuttgart. Between their recent positive form, and Kaiserslautern’s injury problem in defense (they will be without 3 of their starting 4 in the back…Rodnei and Floria Dick specifically) coupled with a Stuttgart side whose offense is 2nd only to league leading Dortmund, this match should prove favorable for our boys. They will be without Tasci and Kuzmanovic due to injury.
I’m going to do my best to post before/during/after the match…hope to hear from you all-
Okay serious question here: is rotating coaches every year the only way to motivate this club? Should I be mad at the players? Clearly they can turn it on when they feel like the pressure is on. After the board axed Gross earlier than they usually do when the club struggles early on, the team has responded yet again under interim (but probably permanent) coach Keller and started an upward trend as of late, with more time to continue their recovery.
This isn’t the first time this year we’ve seen this kind of play. After a Europa League win against Young Boys they crushed Borussia Monchengladbach 7-0 something like 48 hours later. Similarly (but still totally unexpected) after die Schwaben dispatched of Getafe and ensured knock out qualification in Europe on Thursday, they trounced Bremen 6-0. It’s not every day you see a club with 7 losses and 3 wins have a +3 scoring differential, but oddball matches like this will do that.
You’d be hard pressed to see a more deserving man of the match than Christian Träsch, who played the deep role perfectly and shut down Torsten Frings and who really just controlled an area of the field Stuttgart have struggled with all year. Other standouts include Marica, who’s been en fuego as of late and notched another goal (perfect placement) and 3 assists in this game. Cacau similarly was quality (even with another PK miss). It seems Pogrebnyak’s chances of clearly starting are slipping away every day.
The 3 points gets Stuttgart out of the relegation zone and looking up there’s a bit of a traffic jam mid-table. Still a long way to go (which is a good thing, by the way) but if their yearly upward trend has begun now it’s earlier than usual and they may still be able to salvage something from this season.
See below for video highlights:
Stuttgart advanced to the sweet 16 of the DFB Cup after dispatching Regionalliga Nord side Chemnitzer FC in extra time. It wasn’t the prettiest of performances, Marica in particular struggled mightily (Gebhart had a goal disallowed in the first half after a Marica foul, and missed a PK in the 2nd half) but it was enough to advance. Looking at Die Schwaben’s starting XI one would’ve thought (and hoped) given the fact that this was a strong side we were putting out there it shouldn’t have been as close as it was. But I digress.
Chemnitzer capitalized, as these things usually go, immediately after our failed PK attempt in the 73rd minute thanks to Benjamin Förster. That’s about the time Herr Keller cued up the Batman-style sign signaling for super sub Martin Harnik to do this thang. Enters in the 76th minute, scores in the 79th minute. Bing bang boom.
It was enough to extend the match to extra time, and things went downhill quickly for Chemnitzer courtesy of Andreas Richter’s 2nd yellow card and subsequent sending off in the 95th minute. Harnik would twist the dagger a bit more with his 2nd goal in the 106th minute and finish off Chemnitzer, and his hat trick, in the 118th.
I wasn’t able to catch the entire match; feeds are hard to come by for German domestic cup competitions sometimes, but this was the debut for VfB reserve team player Ermin Bicakcic, who slotted in for an injured Georg Niedermeier in central defense at half time. I can’t comment on his play as I didn’t really get to see him but always good to see new faces get some playing time.
So that’s a couple positive results strung together now. Hopefully they can carry it into the weekend against a struggling Wolfsburg side and continue their ascent out of the Bundesliga basement.
Here’s a great comprehensive review of the match:
I’ve had some technical difficulties the past week or so (hence no Schalke blog) but giving it a go now anyways…if it doesn’t look correct I apologize.
Stuttgart look to keep their perfect European record intact and take a commanding lead in their group tonight against La Liga side Getafe. They’ll look to build on a mostly promising 2-2 draw at Schalke over the weekend and amid turmoil and rumors of winter shakeups and potentially a more permanent replacement for Keller. Getafe sit on 3 points in group H.
I’ll be looking to post before, during, and after the match.
After another abysmal start to another Bundesliga campaign, Stuttgart have once again fired their head coach. Herr Gross, who replaced Markus Babbel after a similar start last year in December, lasted just 7 matches into this season. Jens Keller will be the interim coach until a permanent replacement is found.
Awful move. Awful. It would be wonderful, a revelation, if for once those in a position of power had the decency to exercise some semblance of self-responsibility or blame once in a while. The train wreck that has been the beginning of this season is not because of some sort of tactical misfirings over and over again from Gross. Hardly. This is far more related to the decisions made in who to buy and who to sell. It’s about reaping large profits and not replenishing what was sold off. Yeah okay maybe there was some tinkering with the starting XI to see who would gel, but what did you expect when you sold off the glue of your midfield at the end of the preseason?
It’s not to say Gross didn’t have a portion of the blame in the decline this year. Lethargic starts to matches, and a lot of boneheaded mental mistakes throughout do reflect on him a bit. But by and large this is a board problem. And the players, of course, should heap some of the blame as well.
So not only does this throw the remainder of the season into question again, but does anyone really think that constantly replacing coaches year after year after year is a good thing? You look at any sport, the team that is constantly changing like that is consistently in last place, and it’s precisely because of the inconsistency of management. No chance to get into a routine or to establish an environment in the locker room and on the pitch that brands the team in the mindset of their coach.
I can’t imagine this is the best way to prepare for the upcoming clash with struggling outfit Schalke as well this Saturday. Both teams are in desperate need of points and one has to imagine that the mental edge will not be on our side. So on top of just focusing on getting a healthy squad and working with what we got, we’ve also got to find a new coach once again. Apparently Christoph Daum is one of the frontrunners for the job, but who knows. Honestly, how can we even expect to get a top quality coach at this point? Anyone with any semblance of a decent job won’t be lured away into a situation where they know they won’t get a fair shot to right the ship if they get off to a bad start.
I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions on the matter.
Sorry it’s been so long between posts; had a 2 week jaunt in Germany and the Czech Republic and internet wasn’t readily available most of the time…I’m also not too keen on posting blogs via iPhone either.
Essentially since I’ve been gone we’ve picked up 2 more ugly league losses and a Europa League win. This leaves us comfortably in last place in the Bundesliga and top of the group in the Europa League; pretty much feast or famine. For those following the inevitable talk about Gross being sacked at some point, through 7 matches last year Babbel had accrued 8 points to Gross’ 3 on 2 wins and 2 draws; good for 8th place in the table. While in the Champions League Stuttgart were on 2 points from 2 draws thus far. Clearly Gross’ start has been far worse. How much of the blame falls on him? How much on the players? Or the board?
The answer of course is a fair heap of blame falls on everyone. I place the bulk of the blame on the board for a horrendous transfer window where they sold the glue of their midfield and replaced him with nobody of anywhere near the same quality, and basically sat on that dough, along with an estimated 23 MILLION EUROS from their participation in last year’s Champion’s League. I simply cannot accept the argument that the funds are going toward the stadium renovations either. Given how versatile and ever changing the Bundesliga is, how competitive it is, they HAD to have known that simply pocketing that money rather than reinvesting it was going to hurt the product on the field. Completely unacceptable. And Stuttgart have now dug such a huge hole for themselves they’ve pretty much almost played themselves out of a European spot next year already, so whatever emergency transfer they’d even think about making in January could already be somewhat fruitless.
The defense has been far worse than I would’ve anticipated going into the year. Yes, there were some key injuries early on. But even with players like Tasci and Delpierre back, the situation hasn’t improved. Part of this also again falls on the loss of Khedira, and the midfield in general not doing a good job tracking back defensively. There’s also been a fair share of just boneheaded plays and challenges that have been backbreakers, particularly in the last 2 matches. Defensive lapses have led to unmarked men in the box slotting goals as well. The injuries I can deal with, but the lack of alertness and missing that decisive mental edge falls both on the players and Gross.
And in fairness to Gross, he lost Khedira late in the preseason. So understandably we knew it could take a little time to figure out a midfield combination that worked. But again the concentration factor, as well as his lack of defensive strategic adjustments, and I may add overall lethargic beginnings to games leading to deep deficits early on, all fall on his shoulders. I don’t think the record is as indicative of his job as much as the personnel he has to work with, but certainly at the end of the day he’ll probably be the most at danger of losing his job versus anybody else, fair or not.
It’s sad that this season is almost already written off in terms of any sort of title chase or anything like that. The comparisons to Hertha Berlin circa last year seem to look good so far. Will we see a sacking and then hope for another ridiculous 2nd half run? I hate that it might have to come to that.
-Matthieu Delpierre received a 3 match ban for his red card challenge last match.
-Johan Audel has resumed training after his 6 week layoff due to an ankle injury.
A few days late but better than nothing at all. The reason it’s so late is I had the (dis)pleasure of attending the match and haven’t had much internet access since arriving here. And even though I have a ton of pics I won’t be posting for simplicity sake.
I think it’s much easier to review a match when watching on tv because of instant replays and such. The first two goals were pretty awful. The defense on the whole is alarming and that falls on the midfielders falling back to help too. In particular, it seems our defense in our own 18 yard box, even when we are all set, is porous. The leadup to that 3rd backbreaking goal was a 2 on 1 that Ulreich was able to defend. It was 45 seconds later, when everybody was back and set up that we let it happen.
And I hate that this’ll sound more like a question session for me but whatever. Was Camo’s foolish dispossession and subsequent red card really as dumb as it seemed to play out to me? Unreal. Just awful. But the other question is was the dude offsides (before he got tackled outside the box)? Not that we ever should have put ourselves in that position at that juncture in the match but it seemed they came out the 2nd half at least a little more determined.
This team is sorely lacking. It’s funny because a week ago we all of a sudden felt at least a little better about this club but 2 bad losses later we’re in the same spot we were before. We will again question transfer policies. A story that emerged a couple weeks ago that I chose to ignore because it seemed we were getting better I will ignore no longer, mainly that we made 23 million euros for our Champions League play last year. Of course we’ll ask once again where it all went? Can’t just say the stadium. A club CANNOT simply plug in spare parts for World Class players and expect just as good results.
The brightest part of the afternoon/evening for me was not the match but Volksfest which was happening right next door. A kind of a mini-Oktoberfest sort of; the beer and the standing on tables and singing songs all night helped wash away my thoughts of a soggy afternoon.