After VfB Stuttgart’s dizzyingly one-sided 5-0 win over Bochum, only one question remained unanswered. Whether VfB, which of course opened the season as the new table leader, was so strong – or VfL so weak. If you look at last season’s final placings, which saw VfL finish 14th, two places ahead of the Swabians, the difference in pace and level between the two teams was, well, surprising.
A few other questions were clarified in the red-hot 90 minutes in the Stuttgart stadium – the mineral water was sold at a special price of two euros – but without any questions. For example, after the Stuttgart midfield headquarters. From there, Wataru Endo left VfB for Liverpool a few days ago, where he made his debut against Bournemouth on Saturday. With his departure, Endo brought in a lot of millions, but it was also a problem for coach Sebastian Hoeneß.
After all, he now had to answer the question of how he would occupy the double six in the future. He solved it on Saturday by dissolving it: Atakan Karazor played as a defensive central midfielder, Enzo Millot next door took on a more offensive role and, in addition to his well-known technical strengths, also showed a good game in terms of running and fighting. Konstantinos Mavropanos, who could complete the Swabian last-minute bloodletting with a move to West Ham United, was not even included in the squad due to back problems. Unfortunately, sports director Fabian Wohlgemuth didn’t want to answer any of the questions about further arrivals and departures until August 31st on Saturday: “Tomorrow again. Today I’m happy about the win.”
Bochum does not take place – Stuttgart could have led more at half-time
Endo and Mavropanos, after all two of the strongest individualists in the team, were missed, but not really on Saturday either. And that also had something to do with the weakness of an opponent, which basically didn’t happen in terms of football. And who one can only wish that what he showed on Saturday was an unfortunate slip-up. Otherwise, the relegation favorite would probably already be certain.
In any case, the result could have been much clearer at half-time than just 2-0 after goals from Serhou Guirassy (18th) and Dan-Axel Zagadou (38th). Only Woo-yeong Jeong, who made a strong debut and had the best running values in the team, allowed himself three more big chances (33’/37’/45’+6′). Manuel Riemann destroyed two of them, once through good positional play and once with a great save. As the goalkeeper, who was almost ritually criticized last season, was by far the best Bochumer anyway. And not just because his ten field players failed as competitors.
VfB scores effortlessly – Bayern loan Nübel in goal has little to do
Even before Silas made it 3-0 and 4-0 (59th/67th) and Guirassy made it 5-0 (77th) without any resistance worth mentioning, one had the impression that the team didn’t care about this game wanted anything more than the final whistle. Understandably, that didn’t change the fact that sports director Wohlgemuth wanted his own part in the 5-0 to be acknowledged: “It wasn’t a walk in the park today,” he said more politely than truthfully, “all eleven players were fully focused and got into the new ones Processes worked out well.”
This in turn has to be put into perspective. Because the performance of a player, a new one at that, could not be evaluated on Saturday: Goalkeeper Alexander Nübel got a ball from Takuma Asano to save exactly once (58th), otherwise he had nothing to do. The question of whether Nübel can permanently bring more quality between the posts than Florian Müller and Fabian Bredlow were granted last season would then be the second question that could not be answered on Saturday.