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2018-19 Bundesliga Preview: VfB Stuttgart

A historic side trying to bring back the glory days.

SV Sandhausen v VfB Stuttgart - Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Christian Kaspar-Bartke/Getty Images

VfB Stuttgart has been quite an exciting team to watch of late. After a brief stint in Germany’s second tier, Stuttgart earned back promotion under former BVB man Hannes Wolf. Unfortunately, their celebrations were to be short-lived as halfway through the season the club hovered around the relegation zone. After sacking Wolf and replacing him with Tayfun Korkut, he revitalized the team and led VfB Stuttgart to a miraculous 7th place finish. Now they look to continue this good run of form as the Bundesliga season is fast approaching.

Last Season

Bundesliga: 7th place - 51 points (15W-6D-14L)

DFB Cup: Round of 16 - 3:1 loss to Mainz 05

Their number of wins last season was fairly impressive, especially for a newly promoted side, but the number of losses is what cost Stuttgart the opportunity to compete in Europe this season (Oh really, Joel? No duh). What I mean by that is they lacked the defensive ability to hold their opponents, and not enough offensive prowess to be able to slot in a goal or two to change the outcome of a match.

A returning Mario Gomez was one of the reoccurring headlines last season for Stuttgart, as he flipped the goal-scoring switch when it mattered in the season. However, relying on an aging Mario Gomez who is still good but well past his prime isn’t a good season-long strategy, which is something I’m sure Korkut is well aware of. A few transfers in might contribute to the lack of bite in Stuttgart’s attack, namely Daniel Didavi from VfL Wolfsburg. On the flipside, Stuttgart is losing an attacker to Wolfsburg in the transfer of Daniel Ginczek.

For the moment, Stuttgart’s defense hasn’t changed too much in terms of quality. Marc Oliver Kempf from Freiburg is coming in, and for the moment Benjamin Pavard is staying put. It would seem Bayern will have to wait to get their hands on him.

Transfers In

(Excluding returning loans)

Pablo Maffeo (RB) - Manchester City U23 - €9m

Nicólas González (CF) - Argentinos Juniors - €8.5m

Borna Sosa (LB) - Dinamo Zagreb - €6m

Gonzalo Castro (IDK) - The best club in the world - A box of donuts

Daniel Didavi (CAM) - VfL Wolfsburg - €4m

Roberto Massimo (RW) - Bielefeld U19 - €2.5m

David Kopacz (CAM) - Borussia Dortmund U19 - Free transfer

Marc Oliver Kempf (CB) - SC Freiburg - Free transfer

It’s worth noting that Roberto Massimo is being loaned back to his former club.

Transfers Out

(Excluding outgoing and expired loans)

Daniel Ginczek (CF) - VfL Wolfsburg - €14m

Jérôme Onguéné (CB) - RB Salzburg - €2m

Jean Zimmer (RB) - Fortuna Düsseldorf - €900k

Julian Green (CAM) - Greuther Fürth - €200k

Matthias Zimmermann (CDM) - Fortuna Düsseldorf - Free transfer

Tobias Werner (LW) - VfB Stuttgart II

Not a whole lot of excitement as far as outgoing transfers. Ginczek is going to Wolfsburg just as Daniel Didavi is leaving. Some American fans here might be a bit sad to see Julian Green sink into obscurity at Greuther Fürth. Stuttgart seem to be taking a chance in the striking department by leaving it up to Gomez and newcomer Nicólas González.

Ultimately, I’d expect Stuttgart to finish around the same place again this season, just missing out on European competition yet again. The roster has slightly improved, they’ve kept onto most of their relatively bigger names, yet Stuttgart is gambling by having 33-year-old Mario Gomez and new project Nicólas González lead Korkut’s favored 4-4-2 formation. The defense will now include Kempf and Maffeo, but that may not prove to be enough to stop the side from conceding crucial goals.

Verdict: Stuttgart will once again land in 7th place.