Sebastian Hoeness and VfB Stuttgart: The Young and Revived Team Defying the Odds in the Bundesliga

2023-12-17 14:30:06

Six months ago now, VfB Stuttgart, with 33 points on the clock over the entire 2022-2023 season, secured its stay in the elite following a controlled play-off against Hamburg (3-0, 1-3). At the dawn of its 15th Bundesliga match, the Baden-Württemberg club (3rd) already has 31 points and can even overtake Bayern Munich, eleven times reigning champion, in the event of victory this Sunday, December 17 (7:30 p.m. ) at the Allianz Arena.

“They came close to correctional facilities, recalls Patrick Guillou, consultant for beIN Sports, broadcaster of the German championship in France. The arrival of Sebastian Hoeness on the bench (last April) was a trigger, bringing dynamism, play, enthusiastic football. »

Son of Dieter, former great striker for Stuttgart and Bayern, and nephew of Uli, ex-player and emblematic president of the Bavarian club, Sebastian Hoeness is one of the Bundesliga’s most popular coaches. Before being the man behind the maintenance of the VfB and its great start to the season, the 41-year-old technician shone with the Bayern reserves, which he raised to the second division, then with Hoffenheim. Not far from Stuttgart, Hoeness had already been close to European places with the Bleu et Blanc for a good part of the 2021-2022 season, before collapsing at the end (9th).

“In his teams, he offers a lot of intensity in the racing volumes, particularly in the counter-effort, analyzes Patrick Guillou. It is clear that he knows how to shake the coconut tree when he arrives on a bench. But it can sometimes be more complicated, over time, for players used to more comfortable football. »

A young and vengeful team

Its current squad is the youngest in “Buli”, with an average age of 23.5 years. It includes the German defensive midfielder Angelo Stiller (22 years old), faithful lieutenant of Hoeness since Bayern (B) and Hoffenheim, but also a whole range of former Ligue 1 players. Alexander Nübel (27 years old), criticized during his two years in Monaco, ensures in the goals. Enzo Millot (21 years old) had never had his chance on the Rock: here he is, the starting playmaker in Germany, selected for the Bleuets and competing for a place in the Olympics.

Alongside captain Waldemar Anton (27 years old) and Anthony Rouault (22 years old), who left Toulouse FC in the off-season, Dan-Axel Zagadou (24 years old) has completely bounced back in Stuttgart, having had to wait three months to find a team after the end of his contract in Dortmund, in June 2022. “He is transformed, praises Patrick Guillou about the defender trained at Paris Saint-Germain. Consistent in his performances, he has undoubtedly become a rock in the VfB defense. »

Ahead, how can we omit Serhou Guirassy (27 years old), sold by Stade Rennais for 9 million euros and already author of 16 units in the league this season. A goal every 55 minutes for the Guinean, and a ratio of 78 minutes per goal for his competitor for the position, the German Deniz Undav (27 years old, 8 goals), on loan from Brighton.

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A rich man’s problem for Hoeness, who could well be tempted to throw his two gunners into the starting lineup again this Sunday, as in the last three meetings. Stuttgart already shook undefeated leader Leverkusen on the last day (1-1), scoring 10 shots in the first half alone before seeing Xabi Alonso’s troops fight back. Bayern, corrected in Frankfurt last Saturday (5-1), is warned.

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