Zero points against Augsburg, zero points against Bielefeld: In autumn 2021, VfB will be building opponents for troubled teams – and have long been in the relegation battle themselves.
When the game was over, Daniel Didavi sank down on the lawn. There he sat, held out a little, and finally left the place with his head drooping. On the way, VfB coach Pellegrino Matarazzo gave him a comforting pat, but Didavi’s frustration persisted. “There was a little lack of luck, the punch, maybe also the quality,” said the midfield director disappointed.
Without a real striker
Together with Roberto Massimo, Didavi formed the VfB offensive against Bielefeld. Matarazzo did without a real striker, most of the squad are injured or sick anyway. And just at the beginning the plan seemed to be working. The VfB started boldly and energetically. “We were clearly the better team in the first half,” said Didavi. But only Bielefeld scored: 0: 1 by Masaya Okugawa in the 19th minute.
Matarazzo doesn’t blame his team
At the beginning of the second half, VfB didn’t play badly either, but then, as so often this season, lost their rhythm. “We then had hardly any structure left,” explained Matarazzo. Especially towards the end, Bielefeld had some great chances to even make it 2-0 and hit the crossbar several times. Nonetheless, the coach didn’t reprimand his young team: “I can’t blame the team for passion or fighting. The boys wanted to, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough today.”
Mislintat: “We have reached the relegation battle”
Zero points from the games against Augsburg and Bielefeld, both teams that started the season poorly. Augsburg had only won once before the victory against VfB, for Bielefeld the success in Stuttgart was the first of the season. “What should we talk about: We arrived where we saw each other before the season – in the relegation battle,” said sports director Sven Mislintat. His explanation: the many injured. “The important thing is that we are always slightly above the line until winter. The more players are back, the greater the likelihood that we will achieve our goals.”
Young talent coordinator Marc Ziegler is a live guest of the moderator Lea Wagner. In addition, the highlights of the games Bayern – Freiburg, Stuttgart – Bielefeld and Bochum – Hoffenheim. There is also a new episode Triumphs & Tears with Heiko Herrlich.
In the short term, the only remaining striker, Hamadi Al Ghaddioui, with a cold and talent Naouirou Ahamada with Achilles tendon problems, was added to the dropout list. Very few of the players who coached Pellegrino Matarazzo would have started under normal circumstances. “We know that the tasks are a little more difficult at the moment than they could be,” commented Mislintat. He admitted that some things could have been done better. The yield of ten points after eleven games is not entirely due to the shortage of personnel.
In the social networks, fans show understanding, but not all want to accept the many injuries as an explanation. “Where is the fighting spirit?” is there to read or: “You can no longer talk nicely about the injuries”. Others are just “speechless.”
Hope for Silas
His team now has to train, work and reflect, said Pellegrino Matarazzo in his usual calm manner. “This is the way, our way, and we will make it.” VfB is counting on the international break to help and that as many players as possible come back. Goalkeeper Florian Müller is said to be back in the starting line-up after his corona infection. The defenders Konstantinos Mavropanos and Marc Oliver Kempf as well as Al Ghaddioui, Ahamada and ideally also Omar Marmoush and Chris Führich could become alternatives again. A (short-term) comeback of Silas Katompa Mvumpa after his cruciate ligament rupture is also imminent. But the task is not getting any easier: VfB will compete at Borussia Dortmund on November 20th.