November 19, 2017

Dire Stuttgart: Groundhog Day Again

Did our preseason column say VfB would finish 8th before the season started? Clearly there was a typo and a “1” was left out before the number 8.

After losing 2-1 to Hertha Berlin, Stuttgart sits in 17th place with 0 points after four matches. Only Mönchengladbach has fared worse.

I have tried to delay this for a few weeks in hopes of something positive to write about. Dumb! After four games, the optimism for both team and management has vanished. It’s Groundhog Day. Again.

The transfer window has closed. Sporting Director Robin Dutt’s tenure is heading down the path of his predecessor Fredi Bobic. He hasn’t sold nearly as many players, but has added little to solve Stuttgart’s woes across the board. Which begs the question, does the problem lie at sporting director? Why does our team continually suck?

Regardless, our situation is what it is. Until the next transfer window opens, no help is on the way for some time (and Stuttgart better add a defender during the next window). Practically speaking, what can Stuttgart do to win, or hell even draw a match?

Tweak the new system in place

Wikipedia pic of first generation Fiat Panda
(https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/4c/Fiat_panda_1_v_sst.jpg)

Going on the offensive is great and a welcome change from the timid, conservative styles of recent memory. But as VfB legend Buffy Ettmayer so eloquently put it, “you cannot drive 250 with a Fiat Panda.”

He is correct. The team wears down near the end of the match and we do not have the quality depth to keep this pace up for 90 minutes plus. This is so painful to say: we should focus more on defense and not try to score so aggressively. Stuttgart have outshot their opponents in three of the four matches with zero points to show for it. The one match they did not outshoot their opponent was Hamburger SV, when Florian Klein stupidly picked up two yellow cards in a matter of minutes at the beginning of the second half.

Move Hlousek to bench

He does not bring anything to the table as a starter and it’s hard to understand why Stuttgart coaches continue to think otherwise. Hlousek is too slow for what is required of him and appears lost at times. There has to be someone on the team or the reserves that is worth trying. I don’t care how many injuries we have. Hlousek is fine off the bench. We are being greedy. He had 18 misplaced passes against Hertha. The next worse player on Stuttgart had 11.

Move Dutt somewhere off the field

I can’t be the only one annoyed by this. Let the coach and players do their job. He clearly isn’t getting any insider information or extra knowledge being down there. He looks out-of-place with his business casual apparel just sitting there among a bunch of guys in shorts and track suits. How many other teams have Sporting Directors who do this? It can’t be helping our mojo. This is a quick fix and most importantly to the VfB leadership, it’s also free!

Next Sunday’s matchup

Stuttgart returns home to face FC Schalke in the early Sunday morning game.

Match notes: Timo Baumgartl was unavailable this weekend with a patella tendon issue…Toni Sunjic made his debut with the team and scored Stuttgart’s lone goal in the 36th minute…Socceroo Robbie Kruse also debuted during the game, coming on in the 55th minute for Martin Harnik…Timo Werner did not travel with the team to Berlin for performance reasons according to the team…Former VfB forward Vedad Ibišević faced his team for the first time since being sold to Berlin. He entered during the 45th minute and took one unsuccessful shot on goal.

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Court Wilson

lived in Tuebingen, Germany, which is a short drive from Mercedes-Benz Arena and favored team VfB Stuttgart. Twitter @oohrow