Matchday 16: Football like a “drug” – Labbadia returns 1-1

16th matchday
Football like a “drug” – Labbadia returns 1-1

Stuttgart's Naouirou Ahamada (l) fights for the ball with Mainz Dominik Kohr (r). Photo: Tom Weller/dpa

Stuttgart’s Naouirou Ahamada (l) fights for the ball with Mainz Dominik Kohr (r). Photo

© Tom Weller/dpa

Bruno Labbadia is back in the Bundesliga. The 1:1 against FSV Mainz 05 is not enough for VfB Stuttgart to leave the relegation rank. A lot of work remains for Labbadia.

This liberating moment showed Bruno Labbadias Desire for Bundesliga football. The returning coach of VfB Stuttgart jumped up jubilantly and clenched his hands. He screamed as Serhou Guirassy made it 1-0 in the grueling relegation battle against FSV Mainz 05.

Soccer is a great game when you win and when you score goals. If you are not happy there, you would be out of place. It’s just a nice feeling, you can show it and let it out,” explained Labbadia later, after the 1-1 (1-1) against Mainz at the end of a little disillusionment and the hoped-for sign of respect at the start of an English week was missed with the next task on Tuesday in Hoffenheim.

Stuttgart with a draw on Labbadia’s return

It wasn’t enough for more than this one celebration in the 36th minute in his first Bundesliga game in two years and his debut in his second term at VfB. “I think we would have deserved the three points a bit more,” said Labbadia, the coach of the third from last. But he also said: “We know that we still have room for improvement. There is a reason why we are where we are.”

Because of the precarious situation, VfB made a radical cut in December in order to avoid the looming debacle of renewed relegation. Fabian Wohlgemuth replaced Sven Mislintat as sports director, Labbadia succeeded Pellegrino Matarazzo and interim coach Michael Wimmer. And that despite the fact that the relegation battle is “not fun”, as he admitted.

In recent years he has repeatedly “taken the right to cancel many things,” reported Labbadia. But football is also like a “drug”. That’s why Labbadia is back – two years after leaving Hertha BSC. Accordingly, the interest in the question and answer session with the journalists after the draw was focused on the returnee and host coach, so that Labbadia his Mainz colleagues Bo Svensson smiling asked: “Bo, did you fall asleep?”

Labbadia has accumulated a lot of experience as a coach, be it in Hamburg, Wolfsburg, Berlin or at his first stop in Stuttgart between December 2010 and August 2013. He should use that to Swabia to stabilize. “The World Cup gave us enough time to give the team input. That was sorely needed,” he said on Sky.

Anton: “Have to be more consistent in front of goal”

In front of 45,903 spectators against Mainz, he saw a game with a lot of uncertainties on both sides and hardly any highlights in the first half. The hosts also found it difficult to build up the game under the new coach. It lacked creativity, clarity and precision. The lead came as a surprise: First Labbadia tore his hair out when Guirassy missed VfB’s best chance so far. In the scene that followed, he freaked out in a good way. Via Naouirou Ahamada and Wataru Endo, the ball came back to Guirassy, ​​who skillfully executed.

However, the Swabians did not go into the break with a lead because Ahamada hit Mainz’s Leandro Barreiro in the penalty area and, according to video evidence, the penalty was awarded, which Marcus Ingvartsen safely converted with a left into the bottom left corner (40′). In the second half, the hosts were more committed in attack, but missed some chances. But Mainz’s Aymen Barkok was also unlucky when he shot into the crossbar (55′) – as was Guirassy five minutes later for Stuttgart. Substitute Josha Vagnoman could have secured the win shortly before the end.

“We just have to be more focused and consistent in front of the goal,” said Waldemar Anton on Sky. Labbadia is a “great coach,” he said: “He finds a good mix of fun and seriousness, what we need and so far we’ve been working very well under him.”


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