Monday, 25.10.2021

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Thriving in creating effective structures – VfB Stuttgart brings freshness to the Bundesliga

VfB Stuttgart have outperformed expectations during the Hinrunde. Yet, perhaps more so than their results and play, the array of strategies and structures employed in build-up and defensive transitions have left an impression on the Bundesliga. Head coach Pellegrino Matarazzo has established a formidable attacking team that consistently penetrates and creates, and hence can beat almost every opponent.

Language, stats, and football

Americans call aubergines ‘eggplants’. For those familiar with the deep purple skin of the vegetable(?), this seems peculiar. To British ears, it’s one of those “oh, America!” things to roll ones eyes at and quietly mock, like ‘pants’ and ‘soccer’ and the missing ‘u’ in ‘colour’. And then you learn that there’s a variety of aubergine that is white, and small, and generally looks quite like an egg.

Gerhard Struber’s intense pressing system at Barnsley

When he was appointed as Barnsley manager in November, Gerhard Struber was a relative unknown to the typical English football fan, but the Austrian had begun to make a name for himself in Europe with his high intensity philosophy and his success at Wolfsberger AC. When he was appointed, Barnsley were rock bottom of the Championship and were without a win in sixteen, and so the aim was very much to fight against relegation.

The Art of the Long Ball

Ever since the massive success of Guardiola at Barcelona, a lot of people have gravitated towards the philosophy of positional play. This momentum in turn, increased the number of articles and analysis on the subject, putting a large emphasis on playing out from the back in the current literature on the game. Because of this, I thought that it might be interesting to go completely against the grain, and instead focus on long balls and how one is able to utilize them. 

VfB Stuttgart under Pellegrino Matarazzo

VfB Stuttgart did it. One year after their promotion they made it back to the 1. Bundesliga. Having moved from Hoffenheim to VfB at the end of December 2019, head coach Pellegrino “Rino” Matarazzo, led the team to this success. What kind of football does the Italian-American focus on and what are the prospects for the upcoming challenge in the first division?