Stuttgarter Kickers are the smaller brother of VfB Stuttgart and located in the south-west of the city. In their history they made it into the Bundesliga twice during the 1988/1989 and 1991/1992 seasons. Before their first promotion they played in the second Bundesliga for 25 years. During the 1986/1987 season the Kickers accomplished their biggest achievement in the club’s history by reaching the DFB-Pokal final. On their way to the final they won against the likes of Hannover 96, Eintracht Frankfurt and Fortuna Düsseldorf. Unfortunately they lost the final against the Bundesliga-Dino Hamburger SV by 3:1.
Two years after that historic day they managed to finally get promoted to the Bundesliga. The first match of that season was played against VfL Bochum which they lost 1:2. During that year they suffered some heavy defeats but despite constantly being in a relegation-spot they did relatively well. But in the end it wasn’t meant to be and they were relegated only because of a small goal-differential to Eintracht Frankfurt.
After another two years the Kickers finished third, with a very young team it must be said, in the 2nd Bundesliga, which allowed them to play a promotion match against 16th placed Bundesliga side FC St. Pauli. Both ties ended in a 1:1 draw, which meant there was another match to decide which team would play Bundesliga football in the upcoming season. The rematch was held in the Parkstadion in Gelsenkirchen and the Kickers managed to win this game by 3:1.
Their second spell in the Bundesliga had a better start as they won 4:1 against Rekordmeister Bayern Munich. But only one victory in 16 straight matches in the end meant they had to go down again. This was the beginning of a steep downfall for the club. Mediocre results in the second league were crowned by relegation yet again, this time to the third division during the 2000/2001 season.
Current VfB Stuttgart manager Fredi Bobic has a past relationship with Stuttgarter Kickers. He played there for four years as a teenager and won the DFB-Pokal with the U-19 squad and after a spell at TSF Ditzingen returned for a spell as a senior professional until he moved to their big brother VfB Stuttgart in 1994. Guido Buchwald and Karl Allgöwer are two other well known players who played for the “Kickers” in their career and like Fredi Bobic later made the move to VfB Stuttgart where they achieved titles and became National team players. Buchwald too is part of the current club management.
Another famous person who has been with the Kickers is current Bayer Leverkusen coach Robin Dutt. He was with the club from 2002 to 2007 and after coaching the second team from 2002 to 2003 he was appointed to coach the first team until 2007. Dutt did very well with a very young Kickers side with few resources and managed a huge upset in the Cup in 2007 by eliminating first division side Hamburg.
Where are they now?
After being relegated into the fourth division at the end of the 2008/2009 season, the direct promotion into the third Bundesliga has been deemed the official new goal of the club. It was planned to happen in three years. Being relegated of course brought with it a couple of financial problems. Of course most of the players left the club and so the new coach Dirk Schuster had to deal with a very small budget and even fewer players. His new squad basically consisted of former B team players combined with a few local players. The young Kickers squad did surprisingly wel though despite the limited resources. With a tough defense and a great attacking attitude, the team became hard to beat. In the end they achieved finishing ninth with only one loss at home.
For the 2010/2011 season the team was strengthened with a few quality players and the target being a fight for promotion. After quite a good start, a loss to 1. FC Nürnberg’s second team at home was a major turning point. Three of Stuttgarter Kickers players were sent off by the referee and he also gave two penalties to the opponent. This “Skandalspiel” alienated the team and with three straight losses at home they found themselves far away from promotion around Christmas. But with a very good Rückrunde and a struggling Hessen Kassel, they finished second at the end of the season, with SV Darmstadt 98 being promoted.
As things stand currently, Kickers lead the table in the Regionalliga Süd with two games remaining and a 9 point lead over second placed SG Sonnenhof Großaspach, meaning that they are just two weeks away from fulfilling that goal set years ago.
With promotion sealed and a young ambitious team the future looks bright. They are able to play a good brand of crowd pleasing football and are able to do so on a small budget. Being quite a likable traditional club with a great stadium and passionate supporters, a return to success would suit Kickers quite well and fit the zeitgeist of German football.
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