The feeling that not much can go wrong on the way to the finish line is deceptive and VfB Stuttgart is still at risk despite the recent 4-1 win in Mainz and 15th place. Sport director Fabian Wohlgemuth believes that the team is aware of this, but also hopes for a healthy tension before the last game against Hoffenheim.
Stuttgart’s sporting director Frank Wohlgemuth warns of a drop in tension before the “final” against Hoffenheim.
IMAGO/sport photo pack
The preparation for the Baden-Württemberg duel with TSG starts on Wednesday. Physically on the grass. Immediately after the game in Rheinhessen, Wohlgemuth and coach Sebastian Hoeneß left clear messages and instructions for focused preparation for the final and direct relegation in the minds of the players. “Right after that we told the team that all concentration must now be on Hoffenheim,” says the sporting director, who describes the victory and the jump to non-relegation place 15 as only “half the battle”. “In the new week we will work out the other half.”
The 44-year-old is convinced that the team is assessing the situation correctly and does not want to play the admonisher. Still, he can’t help but point out the risks of too much relief. “With a view to Hoffenheim, Mainz have definitely unleashed new strength and strengthened their belief in their own ability to perform. The trick now is to maintain the arc of tension in order to actually get over the mountain on Saturday,” said Wohlgemuth.
In the three days leading up to kick-off there will be no extraordinary activities. “We will continue with the usual processes and not start experimenting. That will help us prepare for the game.” Which, logically, will nevertheless be marked by inner unrest. “Of course there is a certain nervousness, but Sebastian has so far perfectly understood how to convert the existing pressure into positive energy.” The young coach, who with three wins, three draws and only one defeat in seven league games has put Swabians back on track, will continue to do so.
The fact that in the meantime it threatened to become dangerously close is no longer relevant. The traditional club from 1893 has relegation in its own hands. Looking back, however, those responsible are always confronted with the question of whether an earlier change of coach from Bruno Labbadia to Hoeneß would not have been better, because the league might have been saved earlier. There are always people who “know everything better afterwards,” the 44-year-old replies to the group of supposedly clairvoyant people.
A thesis that the sporting director, who came to VfB when Labbadia’s commitment had already been decided, cannot gain anything. Accordingly, you don’t hear a bad word from him about the ex-coach, who “gave everything for the club. In the end, there weren’t enough points. That’s why we had to change”. Which Wohlgemuth finally initiated despite the good relationship between him as former head of the youth department of VfL Wolfsburg and Labbadia as head coach of Lower Saxony and a certain indecision at VfB.
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