November 19, 2017

VfB Stuttgart: Match Preview and Club News

After the terrible match Stuttgart played last Saturday against last place Augsburg, it is scary to think what will happen as they travel to Dortmund’s Signal Iduna Park for the league’s early Sunday matchup.

Faced with the grim reality of only 10 points in 13 games as coach, Stuttgart terminated their contract with Alexander Zorniger on Monday. His three assistant coaches were also dismissed by the club. Sporting Director Robin Dutt appointed Jurgen Kramny as interim coach. Kramny faces an impossible task as he travels north in his Bundesliga coaching debut.

Kramny background

Up until his recent appointment, Kramny had been coaching VfB Stuttgart II since 2011. Der kleine VfB is Stuttgart’s reserve team and plays in the 3. Liga (the highest league a reserve team can play in). He briefly served as assistant coach for Jens Keller in 2010.

He seems like a good fit. During the introductory press conference, Kramny comes across as calm and soft-spoken. The transition should be fairly smooth. He knows the team and city. Personality wise, he is more similar to Huub Stevens than Alexander Zorniger. VfB was never going to respond to Zorniger’s coaching style. They play better in a relaxed atmosphere.

Given the rumors of potential coaches in the German press, it seems unlikely that Kramny will be in this role for very long. In that case, he would simply return to his coaching position with VfB II.

Coaching rumor mill

The candidates most often mentioned so far are familiar names in the Bundesliga coaching carousel. They are: Jos Luhukay (Hertha Berlin), Mirko Slomka (Hamburger SV), Markus Gisdol (TSG Hoffenheim), Tayfun Korkut (Hannover 96), and Lucien Favre, who resigned at Borussia Monchengladbach on September 20th.

Favre is highly unlikely. Very experienced and also rumored to be talking with Premier League teams, I don’t see him coexisting with Robin Dutt. Favre will want more say in the direction of the club, something the purse holders at VfB do not care for.

Gisdol is also unlikely, as his contact with Hoffenheim expires in 2018 and would need to be resolved before a new deal is struck. Stuttgart doesn’t pay for these things and they aren’t going to start now.

That leaves Korkut, Luhukay, and Slomka. Slomka has not been contacted by VfB, but said the team has “huge potential” when recently discussing the job. In reality, Luhukay and Slomka are not good fits. They would not relax the atmosphere within the team, which, after two years of this crap, I can say this is very important to staving off relegation.

Korkut seems like the most logical fit given management and team needs. It’s obvious to everyone the issues with Stuttgart are further up than coach, but Kramny or Korkut are better than the alternatives.

Christoph Daum has also expressed through the media his interest in the position. “Robin Dutt can call me anytime,” he told the Sport Bild on Wednesday. Daum was dubbed “Christoph Dumb” by the UK Sun after a mistake as VfB coach in 1992 and last coached in the Bundesliga in 2011.

Dortmund rest key players

I was hoping their team would be tired after Thursday’s Europa League match against FC Krasnodar in Russia. Unfortunately, they rested three of their key starters: Forwards Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Marco Reus, and midfielder Shinji Kagawa. Both teams already advanced to the knockout stage in group play and the outcome had no effect on the final group standings.

Comfortably in second place and trailing Bayern Munich by only four goals in total goals scored, Dortmund is exactly what you would expect a Thomas Tuchel team to look like: High scoring and aggressive defense that limits scoring opportunities. Having said that, he is one of the best strategists in coaching and will adjust in game as needed.

Prediction

Last week’s pick was not close. This one should be far more accurate. Dortmund will have their main weapons on the field, at home and against a bottom tier team. It’s not going to be pretty.

Stuttgart has to look better on defense. Right? It can’t get any worse one would think. Those goals given up last week were so bad. And even worse was that they kept hanging their green goalie out to dry. I really think the coaching change will make a difference here, and by difference I mean lose by less than four goals. You can only do so much against a team with this much firepower.

Prediction: Borussia Dortmund 4, Stuttgart 1. Better luck next week against Bremen.

Random Stuttgart Notes

Goalkeeper Mitch Langarak’s recovery is coming along slower than expected. He will not be back until sometime in 2016.

Current goalkeeper Przemyslaw Tyton should be fine for Sunday after missing last weekend with a stomach bug.

Midfielder Robbie Kruse suffered a setback and was not part of the team’s roster last Saturday. Kruse, on loan from Bayer Leverkusen, has not appeared in a match since September 11th.

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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