A turbulent season 2021/22 is behind VfB Stuttgart. After countless setbacks and a fierce relegation battle, the Swabians saved themselves with a dramatic victory at the last minute against Cologne. “It was an exciting season,” sums up the VfB coach. “We had to endure many setbacks and deal with a lot of resistance. It was a season of extremes. “
Whether it’s injuries, corona cases, lack of luck in the game or narrow referee decisions – a lot was connected. VfB still managed to stay up, but the time to celebrate is over: there is a lot to work on on Mercedesstraße before the season starts. Coach Pellegrino Matarazzo provides insight into his season analysis and explains which areas he will address.
Damage misery and poor condition
An example shows how unlucky VfB was with injuries last season: The two best strikers Silas and Kalajdzic were out for weeks with a serious shoulder dislocation. A rather unusual injury. Other professionals like Orel Mangala and Chris Führich were also missing for weeks. Could it just be an accident – or is there more to it?
“We had a lot of contact injuries this year,” Matarazzo puts the many absences in perspective. The question is still: “Which came first – the injury or poor condition?” VfB’s coach had an extra briefing during the break, and after that his players had solid organization. “Sometimes I wish I had run one more run”.
“We want to optimize fitness,” the coach explains. A new concept has already been developed to gain more control over the physical condition of the professionals. For example, if a player returns from an injury, there should in future be fixed fitness values that the player must meet in order to get into it again. “We will see if it has a positive effect on the damage.”
Another way to approach the team
If there was one constant at VfB, it was the wildly fluctuating performances. There was often only one match between a good and a bad performance, and one or another professional often lacked the necessary attitude. Especially in the first half of the season, not much went together. It is very possible that some professionals were overconfident after the strong season 2020/21 and the good start to the season (6-0 in the DFB Cup and 5-1 against Fürth). It took too long before VfB was fully involved in the relegation battle.
Pellegrino Matarazzo acknowledged this and therefore says: “The new season starts with a different attitude, we want to keep the pressure up from the start.” Right from the start, players need to have the feeling that every point can be crucial to survival. “In everyday life in the Bundesliga, it’s about results,” the coach explains. He did not convey this well enough to his professionals, especially in the first half of the season. There is therefore a need for a new balance between talent development and a harder pace among the professionals. The Bundesliga means relentless result football – and players must be aware of that from the start.
Many professionals were fooled
Another point of criticism was over much of the season: Some professionals have made little or no further development. Mateo Klimowicz, like Roberto Massimo, was unable to continue the previous season. Orel Mangala also played during his chances and was partly on the bench due to fluctuations in performance.
“In the first half of the season, some talents were overplayed and had a low point,” Matarazzo explains. But he still had hopes that these players would take the next step. In hindsight, it was a mistake, he realized it too late. He therefore changed the formation during the winter break and relied more on mentality players like Atakan Karazor or Pascal Stenzel. “It’s very important to give players time to develop.”
Room for improvement in team planning
Although the Swabians nominally have over 30 professionals in their squad, it got tight on some match days. In addition to countless injuries and corona cases, many young professionals were not yet ready for the relegation battle. The competitive, seasoned Bundesliga professionals were missing. If VfB had had to go to the second division at the end of the season, it would have been one of the biggest criticisms.
“As for the squad structure, we see things that we want to do better in the future,” explains Pellegrino Matarazzo. Negotiations are already underway to create VfB for the new season. “Obviously one or two players will leave us, but new ones are coming.” It is not yet ready for a decision, but they are working “on good structures,” the VfB coach explains. One personality who will soon be clarified is Omar Marmoush. Ideally, the striker should continue to play at Neckar.
Finally weakness in VfB professionals
Pellegrino Matarazzo put it in a nutshell: “In the second half of the season alone, we should have scored eleven more goals than we did.” He uses the statistics of the expected goals, which were significantly better than the actual result. “We should also have been 4-0 up against Cologne at the break.” The fact is: if VfB had only used half of the big chances that were missed, it would have been a sure bet that they had not been relegated. earlier.
“We played a lot of matches where we were good and deserved more,” said the football coach. He will tackle that problem with new forms of training, such as simulating shots under great pressure. But the mental factor must also be included. “One player is too hectic, the other lacks focus – it’s different for everyone and needs to be trained individually.”