The Wonderful Lightness

Just befo­re the end of the sea­son, VfB also sur­pas­ses the 70-point mark and will play for the run­ner-up title next weekend. It’s a pity it’s almost over.

When was the last time we had not­hing at all to play for on the final match­day in recent years becau­se the gaps abo­ve and below were so big that even with three points in the last game, they could­n’t be bridged? Even in 2021, when we ended up in a rela­xed ninth place, we could have qua­li­fied for Euro­pe with a win against Bie­le­feld if Uni­on and Glad­bach had lost. It’s been almost exact­ly 10 years sin­ce we “cele­bra­ted” sur­vi­val despi­te losing to Wolfs­burg and could afford a defeat in Munich on the final match­day. And this year, there’s still some­thing at sta­ke: the decis­i­on whe­ther VfB will finish third or run­ner-up.

And as good as that sounds, it felt the same way on Fri­day evening in the away sec­tion in Augs­burg. Of cour­se, VfB had a bit more trou­ble imple­men­ting the next away win — the tenth of the sea­son! — than in the first leg becau­se the Augs­burg play­ers were not wil­ling to let them­sel­ves be “her­ge­spielt” again, as Erme­din Demi­ro­vic put it, like in Decem­ber. And yet, at some point, Ser­hou Gui­ras­sy struck with ine­vi­ta­bi­li­ty after a dream pass from Enzo Mil­lot, a qua­li­ty pos­s­es­sed by only a few teams in this league. You almost get used to VfB fin­ding some way to suc­ceed this sea­son — and with the sea­son almost over, the away game in Augs­burg was the last one for the next few months.

A Little Wistfulness

Befo­re the final curtain falls against Mön­chen­glad­bach on Satur­day, one can almost beco­me a litt­le melan­cho­lic. Or you just enjoy — like I do — the last 90 minu­tes times two of the­se phe­no­me­nal ten months. Even though it’s still about second place, a bit of money, and the pro­s­pect of play­ing against Lever­ku­sen on Cup weekend and some­time during the week against an ama­teur club: I haven’t wat­ched foot­ball as rela­xed as at the game in Augs­burg in a long time. The atmo­sphe­re in the away sec­tion was sple­ndid, VfB kept the ball moving, and I enjoy­ed the cold drink ser­ved in Augs­burg, which appar­ent­ly Deniz Undav, see abo­ve, did­n’t seem to like much. This sce­ne also illus­tra­tes the wave VfB is riding into the sum­mer break. It’s run­ning and run­ning and run­ning, we’­re set­ting one record after ano­ther, and Undav is making it hard for us not to com­ple­te­ly fall for him with his decla­ra­ti­on of love, despi­te being a loan play­er.

Regard­less of how the final table looks: We have a real­ly nice end to the sea­son ahead of us. I know the team will give ever­y­thing once again to climb up the table one last time; ever­y­thing else is not in our hands. One last time, we can indul­ge our­sel­ves in this attrac­ti­ve foot­ball at the Neckar­sta­di­on, of which we don’t know if it and the com­po­si­ti­on of the team will last bey­ond the sea­son. I have gre­at con­fi­dence in Sebas­ti­an Hoe­neß and Fabi­an Wohl­ge­muth that they will con­ti­nue to act wise­ly in the coming weeks and months, but we will pro­ba­b­ly not expe­ri­ence a sea­son like this again.

One Last Time

First, we have three long months ahead of us, during which no one knows what the squad will look like until the trans­fer win­dow clo­ses on Sep­tem­ber 1st. Not to men­ti­on that despi­te ongo­ing expres­si­ons of dis­sa­tis­fac­tion in every game, the club’s com­mit­tees con­ti­nue to remain silent, the chair­man of the super­vi­so­ry board still does not belong to the regis­tered asso­cia­ti­on, and we still don’t know who has pro­mi­sed and signed what or when. It will be inte­res­t­ing to see who emer­ges from which hole by July 28th and sud­den­ly reap­pears. Unli­ke in the squad, a per­son­nel fresh start is urgen­tly nee­ded here — we should just be careful who comes in through the revol­ving door that others have just left the other way.

But one thing at a time. For now, I just want to, for the last time befo­re sum­mer, see this gre­at team cele­bra­te the gre­at foot­ball of their gre­at coach in a full Neckar­sta­di­on, bea­ming with joy like the sun, with a med­ley of “Stutt­gart kommt”, the Cham­pi­ons League anthem, and:


Note: This is a trans­la­ti­on of my Ger­man artic­le Die wun­der­ba­re Leich­tig­keit by ChatGPT, slight­ly alte­red by me.

Pic­tu­re: © Alex­an­der Hassenstein/Getty Images

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