The world was different 30 years ago. There was no social media, no smartphones, no internet, the Chancellor was Helmut Kohl – and the German champions VfB Stuttgart. On May 16, 1992, Stuttgart’s captain Guido Buchwald headed in for the fourth VfB championship and striker Fritz Walter asked cheekily after the final whistle: “Where is my canon?” Shortly afterwards he was presented with the trophy for the best goalscorer. 15 years later, the traditional club repeated this success. Since then it’s been downhill.

This season, the once so proud club is fighting against relegation in the Bundesliga. Should Hertha lose in Dortmund on Saturday and VfB win their home game against 1. FC Köln, they would remain in the league. The more likely constellation is likely to be going to the relegation games.

As a motivational aid and so that the club’s milestones are not forgotten, the team of VfB trainer Pellegrino Matarazzo will wear jerseys which, apart from the sponsor, are based on the championship jerseys from 1992.

The question will be whether the reminiscence of the old heroic deeds really gives a boost. Or whether it doesn’t weigh heavily on the shoulders of the inexperienced team. The club’s 1992 squad couldn’t be further from the current side. 30 years ago, a mix of experienced warhorses (Eike Immel, Günther Schäfer), world-class players (Matthias Sammer, Guido Buchwald) and hard-boiled rascals (Fritz Walter, Maurizio Gaudino) stormed to the title. Today there is neither one nor the other in the VfB squad. It’s just a hodgepodge of football promises.

It’s quite possible that talents like Tiago Tomas, Omar Marmoush, Mateo Klimowicz, who is hardly considered anymore, or Tanguy Coulibaly will eventually become really good players. The only problem is: at the moment they are not. They are probably not even good enough for the Bundesliga at the moment – ​​and that should be a lesson from this season.

It wasn’t long ago that the very demanding audience in the Stuttgart Arena got really interested in their kickers again. VfB ended the past season as a promoted team in ninth place. Promises like Silas Katompa Mvumpa or Sasa Kalajdzic showed great performances – supported by the veteran Gonzalo Castro and the brilliant offensive player Nicolas Gonzalez.

But sports director Sven Mislintat no longer gave stabilizer Castro a contract; the former national player did not fit into his concept, in which talents who should eventually bring in a lot of money play the leading role. That big fee was also the reason why Gonzalez is no longer chasing goals for VfB today.

The team has lost its balance this season. That could be due to the absence of Castro and Gonzalez. Certainly also bad luck with injuries. Katompa Mvumpa missed almost the entire season, Kalajdzic most of the time too.

Despite the adverse circumstances, critical voices have increasingly emerged in the club’s environment in recent weeks. They are sparked by sports director Mislintat, the architect of the VfB squad, which has been so shaky this season. Put simply, the accusation is that a little more Castro and a little less Tiago Tomas would have been good for the club, which was in danger of relegation.

Many a VfB sympathizer and possibly the new CEO Alexander Wehrle would have wished for a few experienced warhorses. In any case, on Thursday he left the future of Matarazzo and Mislintat at VfB Stuttgart open beyond the summer. You will analyze and then “decide together how to start the new season”.

Sentences like these have often resulted in a personnel reorganization in the history of the Bundesliga.


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