At the end of Matchday 22, VfL Bochum 1848 will host VfB Stuttgart on Monday evening (20:30KO CET) at the Vonovia Ruhrstadion. We take a look at the side who last season were relegated from the Bundesliga, and who travel to Bochum with a new coach and with ambitions of finally ending their winless streak away.
Stuttgart is not only impressive in being the home of car companies Daimler and Porsche; the capital of Baden-Württemberg, with a population of 630,000 people, is awash with vineyards and valleys like the Stuttgarter Talkessel or the Neckarta. There are green areas such as Rosensteinpark or Schlossgarten and much more. Due to the city’s location in the Stuttgarter Talkessel, Stuttgart is renowned for it’s comparatively warm climate.
The Mercedes-Benz Arena, formerly the Neckar Stadium, is the largest stadium in the 2.Bundesliga with a capacity of 60,449. Along with the Cannstatter Wasen festival area, the Porsche Arena and the Mercedes-Benz Museum, the stadium is located in Neckar Park. It was completed in 1933 and has been rebuilt several times in subsequent decades.
The beginnings of VfB Stuttgart go back to the end of the 19th century. In 1893, footballers playing in the east of Stuttgart founded Stuttgart Football Club. Almost 20 years later, in 1912, the club merged with the Cannstatter Kronen-Club and gave itself the name VfB Stuttgart. With more than 68,000 members, VfB Stuttgart is the largest sports club in Baden-Württemberg and one of the top ten biggest nationally.
VfB Stuttgart have a hoard of trophies. In its rich history, VfB have won five top flight titles; in 1950, 1952, 1984, 1992 and 2007, and since 2007, when they won their third title after the formation of the Bundesliga, Stuttgart are entitled to wear a star above the crest on their shirts. In addition to league titles, the Swabians have won the DFB Pokal three times, and won the 2. Bundesliga in 1977 and 2017.
Not every fan will know Pellegrino Matarazzo. The 42-year-old American of Italian descent only joined VfB during the winter break, replacing sacked coach Tim Walter. He’s been given the immediate task of returning the Swabians back into the top division. Matarazzo previously gained a wealth of experience as an assistant coach in the Bundesliga, working for TSG Hoffenheim as no2 to Julian Nagelsmann and Alfred Schreuder. Matarazzo described his motivation in his first head coach position in professional football at his reveal in Stuttgart as follows: "I'm not thinking about what could go wrong, but about what we can achieve." Stuttgart's head coach wants to have play attacking football. He cares about "controlling the game, but not necessarily ball possession".
HEAD TO HEAD
The record after 73 matches is in favour of VfB - VfL have won 17 times, VfB 38 times and there have been 18 draws. But there is cause for hope; Bochum’s home record is much more promising: VfL have won 13 times against VfB when at home. VfB have come away with 11 wins at the Ruhrstadion, and there have been 12 draws. VfL’s last win against Stuttgart dates back to 16 August, 2014, when VfL won the first round of the DFB Pokal 2-0 courtesy of a brace from Simon Terodde.
THE STATE OF PLAY
VfB stalwart Daniel Didavi summed it up after their recent 3-0 win against FC Erzgebirge Aue: “At some point in the game we'll take our opponents apart here at home”, alluding to Stuttgart’s good home record. They are the strongest home side in the league, winning nine games and losing just twice. In foreign territory, however, they drop off. They’ve won away twice this season, on Matchday 6 against SSV Jahn Regensburg (2-3) and two gameweeks later, in Bielefeld (0-1). Didavi also sees room for improvement here: "We still have to improve. If we want to go up, we will have to win away from home.” Currently, the Stuttgart team can look back on a run which has seen them go six games undefeated; wins against Aue (3-0), Heidenheim (3-0) and Nuremberg (3-1), and draws against Darmstadt (1-1), Hannover (2-2) and St. Pauli (1-1).
Thomas Reis (head coach of VfL Bochum 1848): Taking both halves into account, Stuttgart deserved the win. But, especially if we take our performance in the second half, we hoped to at least share the spoils. In the first half we were a little too passive and Stuttgart have put a lot of pressure on us from time to time, but we managed to defuse threats successfully. Then in the second half we wanted to be more active. We pressed earlier and therefore gained more control over the game. One of the major complaints that I have of my side today is that we showed technical problems. We had plenty of chances and crosses in of the game. To end up losing the game due to an individual mistake is of course extremely bitter. Nevertheless, we will keep on working. The style and the willingness we showed in the last three games makes me feel positive. And all this will be needed in Dresden.
Maxim Leitsch (VfL Bochum 1848): Of course, the result is extremely unlucky, especially as we performed very well in the second half. We defended well and Stuttgart hardly had a chance to score. The goal then resulted from an individual mistake which makes it even more annoying. We need to make sure in the coming games that this doesn't happen to us again.
Anthony Losilla (VfL Bochum 1848): It’s massively frustrating to be left empty-handed after such a good game. Zero points are too few in our current situation, unfortunately we couldn't manage at least a point today. In my opinion, we performed very well, especially in the second half and that there are a number of positive things we can take away from the game. We’ll have to show the same effort in the next match against Dresden.
Manuel Riemann (VfL Bochum 1848): I really hope that this mistake won’t bring Saulo down. He's had two really good games – and another today. He made a mistake today, but this is part of football, too. In the coming games, we just have to make sure that we make better use of the mistakes our opponents make. Especially in the first 15 minutes after the restart, VfB offered us a lot but unfortunately we didn’t make anything of it.
Sebastian Schindzielorz (director of football at VfL Bochum 1848): It’s quite similar to the match against Hamburg two weeks ago. In the end, everyone could hear how our fans appreciated the team's efforts, and that we did everything we could. Unfortunately, goals decide games and we conceded one and didn't score - that's extremely bitter. Today, we deserved at least one point. It has to be said that the team has shown a good mentality again and fought like in the games against HSV and in Wiesbaden. The task now is to maintain this mentality in the coming weeks.