Three points to buck the trend

21.09.2012, 13:33:26 Uhr

 
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Shinji Okazaki (left) and Stuttgart are coming to Bremen where Werder and Alexander Ignjovski (right) are undefeated in their last five match-ups against Stuttgart.
 
It has become something of a tradition for VfB Stuttgart to start slowly out of the gates. Looking back at the last seven Bundesliga campaigns since 2005, Stuttgart more often than not struggled in the first half of the season (8th place, 17th, 15th, 10th, 8th, 4th, 9th). But they finished each season much stronger (final rankings 6th, 12th, 6th, 3rd, 6th, 1st, 6th). And head coach Bruno Labbadia's team is at it again this season. Stuttgart hope to fill the switch - and preferably against Werder Bremen in the North-South classic this Sunday at 5:30 p.m. at Weser Stadium.

The 50th Bundesliga season is only three match days old. Yet, there are some surprising winners (Eintracht Frankfurt) and less surprising winners (Bayern Munich) as well as surprising losers (1899 Hoffenheim) and less surprising losers (Hamburg SV). Considering their past, Stuttgart would have to fall into the latter. The club lost 1-0 to Wolfsburg and 6-1 to Bayern before drawing 0-0 against promoted side Fortuna Duesseldorf. That is not enough for a team with much higher ambitions than 16th place on the current table.

 
Marcelo Bordon (left) and Ailton (right) square off in the spectacular 4-4 draw in March 2004. Marcelo Bordon (left) and Ailton (right) square off in the spectacular 4-4 draw in March 2004.
But if it were up to Werder head coach Thomas Schaaf, the Green-Whites would pick up the three points. "A victory would do us some good, especially after the recent performances. We want to have more points. The team is aggravated that we don't have more," said Schaaf, who also sees parallels with his up-coming opponents. "That is a team with a lot of quality which has not gotten the desired results." Regardless, Schaaf wants to focus on his team and getting some more points. And the signs are good as Werder have not lost at home against VfB in the last five matches.

Schaaf: "Must be stronger than Bucharest"

An advantage could be the schedule as Stuttgart played on Thursday in the Europa League against Steaua Bucharest. Labbadia had hoped to prepare his team mentally for Bremen, who did not play mid-week. "We need some confidence for the game in Bremen," said Stuttgart goalkeeper Sven Ulreich before the Bucharest game. But things didn't work out as hoped with Stuttgart playing to a 2-2 draw. "We have to make sure that we are a stronger opponent than Bucharest," Schaaf warned his team. In Sunday's game, Labbadia will not have the services of Cristian Molinaro (shoulder injury), Tim Hoogland (torn ankle ligament), Daniel Didavi (recovery training) and Vedad Ibisevic (red card suspension). Besides the injuries, there remains the curse of the first half of the season. Stuttgart's 2012-13 start is already the second worst in club history.

 

 
Bundesliga, Season 2012/2013, Game day 4, 2012-09-23, Weserstadion
 
SV Werder Bremen
(2 - 0)
2 - 2
VfB Stuttgart
 
 
Goals
 
1 - 0 De Bruyne (23')
 
2 - 0 Junuzovic (34')
 
2 - 1 Harnik (50')
 
2 - 2 Cacau (81')
 
 
 
 
Bookings
 
Hunt (30')
 
Junuzovic (40')
 
Bargfrede (84')
 
Sokratis (86')
 
Lukimya (91')
 
Harnik (24')
 
Harnik (88')
 
 
 
 
Substitutions
 
Akpala for Petersen (71')
 
Bargfrede for Elia (79')
 
Lukimya for Junuzovic (89')
 
Traoré for Torun (45')
 
Molinaro for Boka (81')
 
Niedermeier for Okazaki (81')
 
 
 
 
Notes
 
Referee: Guido Winkmann
 
Audience: 40172
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Mielitz
 
 
 
 
Prödl
 
 
 
 
Fritz
 
 
 
 
Gebre .
 
 
 
 
Sokrat.
 
 
 
 
Elia
 
 
 
 
Hunt
 
 
 
 
Arnaut.
 
 
 
 
Junuzo.
 
 
 
 
De Bru.
 
 
 
 
Peters.
 
 
 
 
Ulreich
 
 
 
 
Maza
 
 
 
 
Sakai
 
 
 
 
Boka
 
 
 
 
Tasci
 
 
 
 
Kvist
 
 
 
 
Harnik
 
 
 
 
Torun
 
 
 
 
Gentner
 
 
 
 
Cacau
 
 
 
 
Okazaki
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
SV Werder Bremen
VfB Stuttgart
 
12
 
 
Shots total
 
 
13
 
 
6
 
 
Shots on goal
 
 
2
 
 
5
 
 
Shots not on goal
 
 
5
 
 
1
 
 
Blocked shots
 
 
6
 
 
6
 
 
Corners
 
 
7
 
 
16
 
 
Crosses
 
 
19
 
 
38.1
 
 
Ball possession in %
 
 
61.9
 
 
55
 
 
Won challenges in %
 
 
45
 
 
276
 
 
Passes
 
 
462
 
 
75
 
 
Successful passes in %
 
 
80
 
 
19
 
 
Fouls
 
 
14
 
 
2
 
 
Offside
 
 
8
 
 
 
 
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