Preview: VfB Stuttgart – FC Bayern

Bayern had a week in which they were able to draw many conclusions for the future. Against VfB Stuttgart, the first away win of this year’s Bundesliga season is expected. Author: Justin • Translator: Dennis

Tayfun Korkut currently draws on the experience he gained as a player under three future World Cup coaches. Two defeats at the start of the season are anything but optimal. Especially when FC Bayern is a guest in the third official match.

But it is important to keep one’s composure, Korkut said. As a player he had worked under Joachim Löw, Carlos Alberto Parreira and Vicente del Bosque. In an interview with Stuttgarter Zeitung the 44-year-old praised the emotional balance of these coaches. It is important to avoid rashes to the extreme.

VfB Stuttgart: Good beginnings, low returns

In fact, Korkut has little reason to dramatize the situation. The elimination against Hansa Rostock was a bitter setback and the Bundesliga start in Mainz was also expected to be different. But the coach saw beginnings, which could still be important for the further process.

The initial phase at FSV wasn’t bad at all. Stuttgart found ways through the half-spaces in the build-up of the game. Santiago Ascacíbar and Gonzalo Castro were responsible for overloading these zones. One focus was on the left side.

This was favoured by Christian Gentner’s nominal position on the right wing. The midfielder often moved to the middle.

This principle also gave Stuttgart’s first and only 100% chance. In the half space Badstuber found Thommy, who together with Insúa and the out-tipping Gómez caused an attack worth seeing. In the middle, VfB finally found Gentner, who just missed the huge opportunity to take the lead.

The Stuttgart team showed that their build-up game has quite good beginnings. Here Badstuber sets up Thommy. The rest of the team moved in a way that Mainz was overwhelmed and outnumbered against the VfB.

Korkut’s task will be to refine and increase these speed attacks out of his own ball possession phases. The attack showed impressively that VfB has technically and tactically some possibilities to create danger.

On this day, however, it should remain one of only three good chances. Stuttgart has not yet managed to keep up the pace. The approach lacks the ultimate risk and the transitions between the thirds are too slow.

In Mainz a very wing-heavy game developed, which was relatively easy to defend. Castro, Ascacíbar and the incoming Gentner too rarely managed to shape the positional game in such a way that Badstuber and Pavard could open via the middle or the half space. That’s why the game went too the wings far too early. Especially between the two central defenders many cross passes were played, which made it possible for Mainz to be prepared for the attacks.

But it was even worse for VfB that the great qualities in the transitional game were hardly brought to the pitch. In the final spurt of last season, Stuttgart were very successful in standing defensively and countering efficiently. If they had to make the game themselves, there were occasionally longer punts to see after which the VfB effectively attacked the second ball.

Such actions against Rostock and Mainz were almost completely absent. The team hardly moved up and abandoned their front pressing rows several times. Especially against Bayern it will take a different compactness not to open the spaces between the lines and to ignite counterpressure after long balls, which FC Bayern will provoke several times.

FC Bayern: Teamwork, self-understanding and stability

While the VfB is busy with how the good beginnings can be expanded, the focus of the Reds was on a farewell, from which many lessons could be drawn at the same time.

Bastian Schweinsteiger said goodbye to his fans, his club and his city on an extremely emotional evening – for now. “I am one of you and I will always be one of you,” he said in a slightly touched voice, leaving room for speculation about a return in the future. It was the great stage that the Fußballgott had deserved.

When Rafinha, Thomas Müller, Arjen Robben, Franck Ribéry, Jérôme Boateng, David Alaba, Manuel Neuer, Thiago and Robert Lewandowski (all with number 31 on their shirts) were on the pitch together with him from the 60th minute on, the fans experienced something very special in the stadium. They were able to see a team that understood each other almost blindly, joking with each other, and reviving a touch of 2013.

It became clear how close the bond is between the players who celebrated this unique success under Heynckes. They went through the fire together to finally reach the summit in summer 2013. Even Thiago and Lewandowski, who joined FC Bayern later, were immediately part of this connection.

Yes, it was a farewell game that had no sporting significance. But this bond was felt by everyone. There was a special team on the pitch that could arouse emotions among the spectators. The euphoric wave of fans was mainly aimed at Bastian Schweinsteiger, but also showed the unique connection the triple winners still have with the audience.

The symbiosis between fans, team and especially Schweinsteiger was outstanding, unique and hard to describe in words. The whole stadium went along, the Südkurve let itself be drawn several times from other parts of the stadium, conflicts were not present with the exception of the criticism at the agency choreography – the FC Bayern could only learn from this game.

Especially Niko Kovač, for whom all this might have been new, should have noticed what this club is capable of, if everything really fits. If he manages to tie the line in the team only approximately so tightly that a similar dynamic is created, he has achieved a lot. This dynamic was the foundation in 2013.

This resulted in a special teamwork and a self-understanding that was necessary for all further steps. If this feeling of teamwork spreads to the fans, FC Bayern is an almost unstoppable bullet. Perhaps at the end of the season we will look back on this Schweinsteiger evening and thank him for raising awareness of how important this foundation is.

Triple Spirit! For the spectators and fans there was a unique bond in a unique team to be felt on Tuesday evening.
(Photo: Adam Pretty / Bongarts / Getty Images)

FC Bayern will not yet be able to control a match over 90 minutes against VfB Stuttgart. That was the realisation of the Hoffenheim game. On the first match day the Reds started very strong. Kovač responded to the aggressiveness of the guests with good adjustments. In the center, Thiago was the focus of the coach’s ideas.

On several occasions, the Spaniard was able to resolve tight situations and put the wing players in the limelight. FC Bayern did not show any completely new approaches. He did what he’s been doing for years very well. With the Coman injury, however, a psychological problem became apparent.

As a result, Bayern no longer came into rhythm. Even in the big games of the Champions League in the recent past there have always been phases in which FCB allowed the game to be taken out of their hands. Kovač will therefore have to ensure the maximum possible stability.

Dismissals, injuries, missed chances, goals conceded out of nowhere – it is impossible to avoid such unexpected turns of a game. But it is important that the Bavarians do not let this upset them. They have to be able to fight it again – tactically, but above all mentally.

With Neuer, Boateng, Alaba, Martínez, Müller, Robben and Ribéry, a possible starting eleven of Niko Kovač could consist of up to seven triple winners. Then there’s Rafinha. Among them are players who no longer have the same level as in those days. However, the coach has a good mix of their experience and young players who can grow on them.

It is therefore also up to the rest of the triple team to channel these experiences, to put their own interests in the background and to jointly ensure a teamwork from which something very special can develop again. The entire team is the key to success. This is the realization that should have matured especially with the triple winners on Tuesday evening.

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