VfB Stuttgart meets Hamburger SV in the Bundesliga relegation in the first leg

DVfB Stuttgart could have spared himself this two-piece set on his own. The Swabians started the last matchday on Saturday in fifteenth place in the Bundesliga. But they missed the full success over the Baden rivals TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, who had escaped all relegation worries a week earlier, with a 1-1 draw.

As a result, VfB slipped down to the threatening relegation rank of 16 and now have to fight for the last free place in the first division in the two qualifying games this Thursday and next Monday (8.45 p.m. in the FAZ live ticker for the Bundesliga, on Sat.1 and Sky). Show nerves and a good strategy to prevent the second division third, the north German major club Hamburger SV, which has been walled in the Bundesliga basement for five years, from returning to the first Bundesliga.

Can VfB Stuttgart do that when it comes to catching the last exit towards the Bundesliga? Doubts are allowed in view of the club’s relegation history for movement games such as the latent instability of the team in a season during which the club employed four coaches – Pellegrino Matarazzo, Michael Wimmer, Bruno Labbadia and since the beginning of April Sebastian Hoeneß – in order to achieve the class goal to reach.

VfB failed at Union Berlin

With the son of the former VfB professional and manager Dieter Hoeneß, the team finally scored reliably again and managed three wins and four draws with just one defeat in the eight league games under the coach, who had previously tried and tested in Hoffenheim. A decent record, but it cannot hide the fact that VfB is still a long way from being stable. The Stuttgarters last achieved two wins in a row in May 2021.

What also seems worrying before the first encounter with HSV under ultimate qualifying conditions is that in the past ten years of relegation in the encounters between the first division club threatened with relegation and the second division third party striving for higher goals, the Bundesliga club has asserted itself nine times – but the only first-grader who failed was VfB Stuttgart was, who failed in 2019 at FC Union Berlin.

Stability came to VfB Stuttgart with him: Sebastian Hoeneß

Image: dpa

In these tense days before the class struggle against HSV, those responsible at VfB are demonstrating what at first glance appears to be a pleasant calm. The fact that the Stuttgart team will once again meet their former coach Tim Walter, who had to vacate his job at the Cannstatter Wasen after just six months in the 2019/20 season, is not worth mentioning to those who were not in office at the time. Only sports director Fabian Wohlgemuth still maintains friendly relations with the impulsive Badener, which stem from their time together at the second division club Holstein Kiel during the 2018/19 season.

Wohlgemuth is spreading anticipation rather than a tense mood these days. “The fans will definitely give the two games a particularly atmospheric setting,” says Wohlgemuth, as if comparing the once leading traditional German clubs were about to celebrate two football days. The Berlin optimist states that “our team has stabilized significantly under Sebastian Hoeneß. In the relegation we want to build on the performance of the past few weeks.

Hoeneß, who won an average of 1.55 points per game with his team in the Bundesliga and, unlike his father or even his uncle Uli, is quite calm, justifies his optimism when looking back at his short time at VfB: “The Art and the way we play gives us courage. We have to stick to that.”

VfB certainly don’t lack talent in their own squad, but they sometimes lack maturity. The many promising young professionals from all over the world brought in by Wohlgemuth’s predecessor Sven Mislintat have stabilized in Stuttgart without consistently delivering top performances. Game after game, the often futile hope for a big day remains, for example for the often overhasty attacking players Silas, Tiago Tomas, Chris Führich or Enzo Millot.

On the other hand, you can rely on the accuracy of the goals of the center forward Serhou Guirassy, ​​who is on loan from the French first division club Stade Rennes. The Guinean national player was signed on Wednesday, also a sign in the direction of Hamburg, regardless of the league, up to and including June 30, 2026. For Guirassy, ​​the play-offs against HSV should be a welcome opportunity to further increase his goal tally of eleven Bundesliga goals and thus send a first-class signal.


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