After the nail-biter in the european league qualifiers, only the facts paid off for vfb goalkeeper sven ulreich. "We have advanced in both cup competitions. That’s important at the beginning of the season," says the 25-year-old.
But there were no two opinions about how to proceed. "Two black eyes, wipe your mouth, let’s move on," was ulreich’s summary of vfb stuttgart’s very happy 0-0 draw against botev plovdiv. As in the 1-1 draw in the first leg and the 2-0 win over BFC dynamo in the DFB cup, the swabians were not convincing on thursday.
Bitter news for stuttgart: central defender georg niedermeier injured himself in an unnecessary duel and, according to an initial diagnosis, will be absent from vfb for several weeks with a torn ligament in his left knee. "This is bad news," said coach bruno labbadia.
Especially with the avoidable ball losses like that of niedermeier and other one-on-one situations, labbadia was not at all satisfied in the stadium of the SG sonnenhof-grobaspach. "Fubball is a duel sport. I can’t lose every hitter ball," he complained about lax duels. "We totally slept through the first half of the process. I was very annoyed during the break, my team did not implement the instructions at all."
After the change of ends, vfb had considerably more traction on the goal and also several good opportunities. But even in the second 45 minutes, the bundesliga team was unable to keep the table-toppers from bulgaria in check – and in the end had to thank ulreich for their place in the playoffs on 22 december. And 29. August thank you. In injury time, he prevented the threatening goal against louis pedro.O. "Our goalkeeper was in outstanding form today," praised sports director fredi bobic. "The relief after the game was rough, because the final phase was very hectic."
On the way to the group stage, the swabians now have to play HNK rijeka in croatia first. "It’s not an easy box to play in," bobic commented on the draw. One thing is clear: with their performance so far, the vfb won’t stand a chance.
Labbadia’s team continues to dance on three highs. "With a bit of luck, we managed to advance in the DFB cup and make the playoffs in the europa league – but we have to improve, definitely," said labbadia.