Henry Flynn takes us through Stuttgart’s tricky season:
VfB Stuttgart have had a tough campaign.
The proud German club have become one of the staples of the Bundesliga, and have boasted an array of talented players in past years. However, this weekend’s crucial game away to VfL Wolfsburg could well be the final blow to a season of struggle.
There is no doubt that Stuttgart have the basis to a strong team. The skipper Christian Gentner is technically one of the better midfielders in the Bundesliga, and capable of scoring goals, like he did last week to put his side one goal up against a Mainz side that eventually ran away with all three points.
On the flanks, Filip Kostic has shone since his arrival from Dutch football and Lukas Rupp has also impressed this season.
However Stuttgart’s Achilles heel is their defensive organisation, and this was once again evident in their 1-3 defeat to Mainz in their last home game.
Any neutral observer would have been surprised to notice just how easily Mainz were able to break Stuttgart’s defensive lines, with the away side’s striker Jhon Córdoba having almost the freedom of the Stuttgart half to stride forwards and tee up a fellow teammate to score the goal their third goal.
Regardless of attacking potential this is inexcusable for any team, and points towards why Stuttgart need a ‘miracle’ in the words of their boss Jürgen Krammy. Bundesliga football can be ruthless, and if you allow yourself to be exposed at the back, an number of sides will take full advantage.
Of course, we must remember that not all hope is lost. Stuttgart will need to win away to Wolfsburg on Saturday and hope Werder Bremen lose their match if they are to secure a relegation play-off place.
Jürgen Kramny’s future will be interesting should Stuttgart be relegated. Despite the defensive flaws, he has brought more vigorous to a team who were toothless under managers such as Huub Stevens. Were Stuttgart to keep him, nobody would be surprised to see the German a team which he has managed to inspire in moments during an overall difficult spell. Before then, however Stuttgart must win at Wolfsburg and hope for the best elsewhere if this great club are to have any chance of maintaining their Bundesliga status.
Article written by Henry Flynn