VfB Stuttgart in der Bundesliga: Weckt Trainer Labbadia den zu stillen Klub auf?
With a new coach and new sports director, VfB Stuttgart wants to prevent the third relegation since 2016. The table situation is worrying, coach Bruno Labbadia is too calm for the team.
This is how it went before the winter break:
Tabula rasa at the association for movement games. After a historic false start and nine league games without a win, promotion coach Pellegrino Matarazzo had to resign on October 10th. Sven Mislintat is also history in Stuttgart, the new drivers in Cannstatt are Bruno Labbadia and Fabian Wohlgemuth. The old acquaintance on the coaching bench and the new sports director, who moved from Paderborn to the Neckar, should lead the traditional club in tandem to the big goal of staying up in the league.
The path of continuity, which many fans regard as important, was abandoned, “success is above everything!”, CEO Alexander Wehrle made clear recently at the training camp in Marbella. Everyone in Stuttgart knows that staying up in the league is a mammoth task. 16th place after 15 games and only 14 points on the account is the modest record before the World Cup winter break. At the same time in the previous season, Stuttgart even had three points more on their account. After all, interim coach Michael Wimmer was able to lead VfB to three league victories before the World Cup break, but ultimately couldn’t gather enough arguments for his continued employment because the team didn’t score points away from home.
Instead, the traditional club relies on the great experience of Bruno Labbadia, who makes it clear which football is appropriate for the current situation. “I want to play exciting football, definitely. That’s what drives me. Football with joy, passion. Only, you need time for that, and at the moment it would be the wrong thing to think too far. Now the only focus is: How do we stay in the league?”
Who is coming, who is going?
So far no winter commitment has been announced by the Swabians, but Bruno Labbadia hinted at the training camp in Marbella that his team was too quiet for him. “We have a very calm team, hardly anyone who speaks, which means I really, really want to encourage them to come out and implement things that we tell them to do. At the same time, it’s also important to exude a certain calmness “, says the 56-year-old. So there is a desire for types of players who bring more volume with them.
In addition, captain Wataru Endo should be relieved in midfield. Board boss Wehrle made it clear that “young wild ones” are not necessarily needed for this: “It’s not so much a question of whether it’s from your own youth or from outside: the player has to be good.” The name of Joshua Guilavogui, experienced midfielder and ex-player under Labbadia at VfL Wolfsburg, was in the media, but a transfer seems questionable.
According to information from SWR Sport, the commitment of Serbian top talent Jovan Milosevic for the summer is fixed. But for the moment the personnel situation is tricky: Dan-Axel Zagadou was injured in the training camp in Marbella, which means that Labbadia is without a key player. In addition, some regular players in the training camp were not really able to train. The Dinos Mavropanos and Borna Sosa, who have been traded again and again as potential winter transfers, could be forced to stay in view of the Zagadou absence if sports director Wohlgemuth does not flutter an attractive offer on the desk that would fill the clammy Stuttgart club coffers considerably.
The coach: returnee Bruno Labbadia
Almost ten years after his first engagement, which lasted from December 2010 to August 2013, Bruno Labbadia is back at VfB Stuttgart. In between, the 56-year-old coached Hamburger SV, VfL Wolfsburg and most recently Hertha BSC.
The path of continuity considered necessary by many fans was abandoned, some supporters expressed their displeasure with the Labbadia obligation, especially on social networks. They see it as a throwback to the old days, too many retro vibes and thus a departure from the chosen path. The path of the “young” VfB Stuttgart, who, with Matarazzo and Mislintat, was also extremely casual for many fans.
Labbadia not only brings experience and expertise, but also the necessary greed. “The decisive thing is that you have this fire in you and this desire for this job, because of course it’s intense.” The fact that the son of Italian guest workers, who grew up with eight siblings, was born with a work ethic, he makes clear these days.
Early, intensive units, plus the assistant trainer Bernhard Trares, who is known as a tough dog: Labbadia wants to grind the Bundesliga team with the third worst running values as a group. The fact that, in addition to the goal of running strength, the necessary volume is already there, at least from the point of view of the trainers, became clear in the training sessions in Spain.
Expectations of the season: (early) relegation is above everything!
Not only should the tone change at VfB Stuttgart, the dramaturgy should – if possible – not be the same as last season, when the rescue only came on the last day of the game. The last-minute relegation thanks to captain Wataru Endo’s goal in the fourth minute of injury time against Cologne already has cult status in the Stuttgart club chronicle, but they would love to do without that kind of thrill in Cannstatt this season.
This requires an increase in performance, ideally on January 21 against Mainz 05 (3:30 p.m.). This increase was evident in the 3-0 friendly win against FC Sion after VfB had lost their first game under Labbadia 0-3 against Lucerne. The 56-year-old coach still saw the clarity in the last third as a lack, the determination needs to be improved. Serhou Guirassy, who was signed by Mislintat and not only scored against Sion, but also scored four goals in his ten league games before the World Cup break, gives the Swabians hope. In addition, the contract extension of offensive man Silas is an important signal for the club and fans.
Labbadia and his team of coaches laid the foundation for the improvement in form in Marbella. Those responsible for the new sports director Wohlgemuth are aware that one or the other set screw in the squad still needs to be turned. The ex-professional Christian Gentner, who works at his side, sees himself as head of the licensed players area in an “observing, listening role”.
If the new heads at VfB succeed in reviving and developing the team, Labbadia’s team could leave competitors such as Hertha BSC, Augsburg, Bochum & Co. behind. This requires a good restart and a certain flow, which VfB Stuttgart never got into before the World Cup break. Then the much-vaunted early relegation is possible.
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