Bruno Labbadia at VfB Stuttgart: Into the future with the retro coach – sport
The future sometimes begins as early as 7:30 a.m. In this future, soccer players can be seen scurrying from the parking lot into the dressing room in the half-dark morning, and a little later they’re scurrying out again, with running shoes on their feet and hoods over their heads. An hour later the future is back again, there is breakfast together which turns into training together, followed by lunch together followed by training together. On a day like this, the future ends pretty late.
It has to be said, though, that it wasn’t that kind of future that she had in mind VfB Stuttgart recently had in mind. Recently, that was the era of CEO Thomas Hitzlsperger, sporting director Sven Mislintat and coach Pellegrino Matarazzo, among them the venerable VfB of 1893 should be a deadly chic number. Young people everywhere, a casual tone, and the product made (soccer) followed sustainable standards and stood for good. No banging around, preferring cool combinations from behind, instigated by wild talents all of whom Mislintat reportedly discovered. It was an attempt to be woke in the middle of turbo-capitalism and to beat capitalism with its own weapons at the same time. In the end, the best talent should be sold to generate fresh money (capitalism language) and recruit new talent. It went well for a while.
Labbadia lets the players run at 7.30 and announces an intensive training camp
So now VfB Stuttgart has left for the training camp in Marbella, no Hitzlsperger was on board, no Matarazzo, not even a Mislintat. With their hip approach, VfB have landed third from the bottom of the table, having only saved themselves to fourth from last in the very last second last season. The trainer is now on board Bruno Labbadia56, who had already ordered the runs at 7.30 a.m. before Christmas – and has now announced an equally intensive training camp.
“We have to use this phase now so that we still have the reserves in April and May,” said Labbadia before the departure, which he had brought forward by four days. They actually wanted to fly to the training camp on January 6th, that was the plan. Labbadia, committed during the World Cup break, immediately had the plans rewritten. He is considered a fitness fanatic and is said to have been shocked when he saw the players’ stats. Only Bochum and Mönchengladbach had weaker running data than VfB in the first half of the season.
VfB is the hardest case for all the experts who now want to bet on the second half of the season. No one can predict what will happen, not even in Stuttgart. Since the separation from Mislintat, whom they considered creative but also dogmatic and difficult to advise on, the club has been trying an adventurous experiment under the leadership of the new club boss Alexander Wehrle. VfB tries to combine approaches that are supposedly mutually exclusive. As Mislintat’s successor, they have chosen Fabian Wohlgemuth, a head of sports from Paderborn with an impeccable reputation, whose commitment should signal to the fan circles close to Mislintat: Don’t worry, we’ll stay innovative and modern! And the trainer is now the solid Labbadia, who is controversial among the fans as a retro coach, and who demonstratively conveys the opposite: Don’t worry, we’re not playing as naively as we used to! We are going into the relegation battle pragmatically!
It would be better for a veteran like Guilavogui to come than the next 18-year-old gambler
The future should take a short break because the present got in the way and relegation would throw the club back into the past. So now a vintage VfB starts the second half of the season, a modern club, temporarily trimmed to look old. Or is this another old club just pretending to be new?
Labbadia should make the eleven fitter than its predecessor Matarazzo; Wohlgemuth should mix the eleven better than Mislintat and would rather add a veteran like Wolfsburg’s Joshua Guilavogui, 32, than the next gambler from the A youth of Toulouse or Le Havre. That is the plan. But what if he rises? Then the savior Labbadia is under contract for two more years, and it gets really complicated again with the past, present and future.