In following the first game of three, I went to my second game of three. If you’re going to plan to go around, then it’s best to go to all these football games and partake what the locals do. And every time, every place the local fans are really into it. And the fans in Stuttgart are no different from any other Bundesliga club.
Verein für Bewegungsspiele Stuttgart, better known in short as VfB Stuttgart have a huge following of fans and have generally played in top flight of German football. The team did get relegated in 2016 to Bundesliga 2 but within a couple years, the Stuttgart team made its recovery back to Bundesliga. The team has one of the biggest supporting memberships in Germany despite the ups and downs with the team’s success and failures on the pitch. The team has won a few major trophies compared to a lot of other German teams with maybe one or two major trophies, but support for the club is still there due to the team normally staying and playing in top flight of Bundesliga.
VfB Stuttgart plays in Mercedes-Benz Arena which is fairly old as it was built in the late 1890s but finished construction in the 1930s. The stadium has seen a lot of renovations but also some significant games such as some international football matches (since it’s close to Switzerland), the 1974 FIFA World Cup when held in Germany, Euro 1988, when the world cup returned to Germany in 2006, some American football games and of course, it also had some music concerts as well.
In this game, the visitors, FC Schalke is what I would call the ultimate counterattacking team. They play all defense until they take the ball back and run all the way to the opponent’s side to try to score a goal. They’ve been successful at this tactic as I remember going to a Bayern Munich game where Schalke was able to counter Bayern’s offensive swarm tactic. Going against Stuttgart, Schalke played more of a full court press by pushing its attackers to put the pressure up front on the defensive line. I think Schalke did this because Stuttgart, from my observation, is an aggressive attacking team pulling their fullbacks up into the attack. By pouring the pressure with 3 or 4 players, Schalke would also have its counterattacking group as well to push the ball forward and then use the back ends of the opposing team’s penalty box as an imaginary start point to make cross passes to a teammate. This tactic can work im general but might have problems with teams that counter this with their counterattack. Schalke has done well so far in Champions League but they might find that this tactic may not work against more talented teams who can position themselves far better and have better talent.
VfB Stuttgart played almost like a FC Barcelona lite in my opinion but doesn’t have the talent, ability, spacing nor tiki-taka passing to make it happen. The team utilizes more of a frontal attack style but it also brings its fullbacks to assist in making crosses. The problem is when their wings and fullbacks get caught off guard during a counterattack in which they are not able to help out because they went too far forward trying to score. I feel as if a lot of the players themselves are trying really hard to score in order to get recognized and move onto to another club, a bigger one.
The good part about Stuttgart is that there are some interesting places to go in addition to the football team. These places are more geared toward the more highly-intrigued about automobiles as they have 2 automobile museums in the area so there is more to the city than just football even though like most major German cities, World War II bombing runs and artillery shellings have been unkind to the city’s architecture. But again, heavy bombing and artillery usually resulted in the widening of streets, installation of new road and railways, and overall of modernization of the city. Both automobile museums were built due to the rapid improvements and rebuilding of the city particularly after poor treatment by the French military’s occupation of Stuttgart during the end phase of World War II and aftermath. I think football helped in its recovery especially when the city held some of the 1974 FIFA World Cup games.