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VfB Stuttgart

VfB Stuttgart is a football (soccer) club from Germany.

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About VfB Stuttgart

Verein für Bewegungsspiele Stuttgart 1893 e. V., commonly known as VfB Stuttgart, is a Germany sports club based in Stuttgart, Baden-Württemberg. The club is best known for its Association football List of football clubs in Germany. VfB Stuttgart play in the Fußball-Bundesliga, the top league of German football. VfB Stuttgart has participated in all but two Fußball-Bundesliga seasons. The team has won the German football champions five times in total—most recently in the 2006–07 season—and the DFB-Pokal (German cup) three times.

The football team plays its home games at the Mercedes-Benz Arena, situated in the Neckarpark (sport and event location around and including the Cannstatter Wasen) sports complex. It is also famous for its talented reserve team, VfB Stuttgart II, which currently plays in the 3rd Liga, the highest division allowed for a reserve team, and also for its junior teams, which won the Under 19 Fußball-Bundesliga Winners .26 Finalists a record 10 times and the Under 17 Fußball-Bundesliga for 6 times.

VfB Stuttgart is a membership-based club and with 45.636 (as of: September 2011), VfB is the largest sports club in the state and the fifth largest in the country. In addition to the successes of the professional, amateur and youth football teams, athletes from the club's athletics department have won numerous titles and medals. The club also has departments for fistball, hockey, table-tennis and football referee (association football). These five departments only compete at amateur level. The club also maintains a social department, the VfB-Garde.

History

Foundation to WWII

FV Stuttgart

In 1909 FV joined the Süddeutschen Fußballverband (Southern Germany Football Association), playing in the second tier B-Klasse. In their second season FV won a district final against future merger partner Kronen-Klub Cannstatt before being defeated by FV Zuffenhausen in the county championship that would have seen the side promoted. They eventually advanced to the senior Südkreis-Liga in 1912.

Kronen-Klub Cannstatt

Cannstatter Fußballklub was formed as a rugby club in 1890 and also quickly established a football team. This club was dissolved after just a few years of play and the former membership re-organized themselves as FC Krone Cannstatt in 1897 to compete as a football-only side. The new team joined the Süddeutschen Fußballverband (SFV) as a second division club and won promotion in 1904. Cannstatt possessed their own ground, which still exists today as the home of TSV Münster.

Following the 1912 merger of these two clubs, the combined side played at first in the Kreisliga Württemberg and then in the Bezirksliga Württemberg-Baden, earning a number of top three finishes and claiming a title there in 1927. The club also made several appearances in the final rounds of the SFV in the late 20s and early 30s.

1933–1945

In 1933 the VfB moved into its home, the Mercedes-Benz Arena. The same year German football was re-organized under the Third Reich into sixteen top-flight divisions called Gauliga. Stuttgart played in the Gauliga Württemberg and enjoyed considerable success there, winning division titles in 1935, 1937, 1938, 1940, and 1943 before the Gauliga system collapsed part way through the 1944–45 season. The club had an intense rivalry with Stuttgarter Kickers throughout this period.

VfB's Gauliga titles earned the team entry to the national playoff rounds, with their best result coming in 1935 when they advanced to the final where they lost 4–6 to defending champions Schalke 04. After a third place result at the national level in 1937, Stuttgart was not able in subsequent appearances to advance out of the preliminary rounds.

1950s championships

After the war VfB continued to play first division football in the Oberliga Süd (1945–63), capturing titles there in 1946, 1952, and 1954. The team also made regular appearances in the German championship rounds emerging as national champion in 1950 and 1952, and finishing as runner-up in 1953. In the 1950s, the club also twice won the DFB-Pokal (1954 and 1958). The team which won four titles in eight years was led by Robert Schlienz who had lost his left arm in a car crash. No player from Stuttgart had been selected for the team that won the 1954 FIFA World Cup though.

1963 Bundesliga

Due to international competition that led to disappointing results in the 1958 FIFA World Cup and 1962 FIFA World Cup, DFB introduced a single professional league in 1963. Stuttgarts consistently good play throughout the 1950s earned them a place among the sixteen clubs that would make up the original Fußball-Bundesliga. The club, as an amateur organisation and due to proverbial Swabia austerity, hesitated to spend money, and some players continued to work in an everyday job. Throughout the balance of the decade and into the mid-70s the club would generally earn mid-table results. One of the few stars of the time was Gilbert Gress from Strasbourg.

In Fußball-Bundesliga 1972-73 the team qualified for the UEFA Cup for the first time and advanced to the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup 1973-74 tournament where they were eliminated by eventual winners Feyenoord Rotterdam (1–2, 2–2).

1975–2000 era of president MV

VfB Stuttgart was in crisis in the mid 1970s, having missed new trends like sponsorship. Attempts to catch up with new levels of professionalism by spending money failed. Towards the end of the 1974–75 Fußball-Bundesliga season, with the team in imminent danger of being relegated to 2. Fußball-Bundesliga, local politician Gerhard Mayer-Vorfelder was elected as new president. Yet, a tie in the final game meant that VfB would be ranked 16th and lose its Bundesliga status. The first season in second league, considered the worst in its history, ended with VfB being ranked 11th, having even lost a home game against local rival SSV Reutlingen in front of only 1200 spectators.

With new coach Jürgen Sundermann and new talents like Karlheinz Förster and Hansi Müller, the team around Ottmar Hitzfeld scored hundred goals in 1976–77 Fußball-Bundesliga and thus returned to top flight play after just two seasons.

The young team was popular for offensive and high-scoring play, but suffered from lack of experience. At the end of 1977–78 Fußball-Bundesliga, the VfB was ranked fourth, but the average attendance of over 53,000 set the league record until the 1990s. They made another UEFA Cup semi-final appearance in 1979–80 UEFA Cup and delivered a number of top four finishes on their way to their first Bundesliga title – the club's third national title – in 1983–84 Fußball-Bundesliga, now under coach Helmut Benthaus.

In 1986, VfB lost the German Cup final 2–5 to FC Bayern Munich. In the 1989 UEFA Cup Final, with Jürgen Klinsmann in their ranks, they lost out to SSC Napoli (1–2, 3–3) where Diego Maradona was playing at the time.

In 1991–92 Fußball-Bundesliga, Stuttgart clinched its fourth title, in one of the closest races in Bundesliga history, finishing ahead of Borussia Dortmund on goal difference. Internationally, they had been eliminated from UEFA Cup play that season (1991–92) after losing their second round match to Spanish side CA Osasuna (2–3). As national champions, the club qualified to play in the UEFA Champions League in 1992–93 UEFA Champions League, but was eliminated in the first round by Leeds United A.F.C. after a tie-breaking third match in Barcelona which was required due to coach Christoph Daum having substituted a fourth non-German player in game two.

VfB did not qualify for any European competition again until 1997, by way of their third German Cup win, with coach Joachim Löw. They enjoyed a measure of success on their return, advancing to the 1998 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup Final in Stockholm, where they lost to Chelsea F.C. in what was the penultimate year of the competition. Only one player of the magic triangle, captain Krassimir Balakov, remained after Giovane Elber and Fredi Bobic left. Löw's contract was not renewed, he was replaced by Winfried Schäfer who in turn was sacked after one season.

However, Stuttgarts performance fell off after this as the club earned just mid-table results over the next two seasons despite spending money on the transfer market and for veterans like Balakov.

2000–2007 The post-MV-era return to success

Due to high debts and the lack of results, Gerhard Mayer-Vorfelder finally resigned from VfB in 2000 to take over offices at German Football Association, UEFA and FIFA. New president Manfred Haas had to renegotiate expensive contracts with players that seldom appeared on the field anyway. As in 1976, when MV had taken over, the team had to be rebuilt by relying on talents from the youth teams. The VfB has Germany's most successful program in the :de:Deutsche Jugendmeisterschaft (Fußball).

Coach Ralf Rangnick had started a restructuring of the team that won the UI Cup, but the resulting extra strain of the UEFA cup participation ended in barely escaping from relegation in 2001 by clinching 15th spot. Rangnick was replaced by Felix Magath.

With players like Andreas Hinkel, Kevin Kurányi, Timo Hildebrand or Alexander Hleb earning themselves the nickname the young and wild, the club soon re-bounded and finished as Bundesliga runners-up in the 2002–03 Fußball-Bundesliga season.

Champions League 2003–04

Thus, VfB qualified for their second UEFA Champions League appearance and, beating Manchester United F.C. and Rangers F.C. once and Panathinaikos FC twice, they advanced out of group play to the first knock out round where they were eliminated by their old nemesis Chelsea F.C. (0–1 and 0–0) (see also 2003–04 UEFA Champions League).

Stuttgart continued to play as one of the top teams in the country, earning fourth and fifth place Bundesliga finishes, and again taking part in the UEFA Cup, but without great success. In addition, coach Magath and several players left for stronger clubs: Kevin Kurányi for Schalke 04, Philipp Lahm for FC Bayern Munich and Alexander Hleb for Arsenal F.C..

Halfway through the disappointing 2005–06 Fußball-Bundesliga season, Giovanni Trapattoni was sacked and replaced by Armin Veh. The new coach was designated as a stop-gap due to having resigned from FC Hansa Rostock in 2003 to focus on his family and having no football job since 2004 except coaching his home team FC Augsburg for a season. Supported by new manager Horst Heldt, Veh could establish himself and his concept of focusing on promising inexpensive players rather than established stars. Team captain Zvonimir Soldo retired, and other veterans left the team that slipped to ninth place and did not qualify for European competition for the first time in four years.

Bundesliga champions 2006–07

Despite early-season losses and ensuing criticism in 2006–07 Fußball-Bundesliga, including a 3–0 loss at home to Nuremberg, Veh managed to turn the collection of new players like Mexicans Pável Pardo, and Ricardo Osorio, and Brazilian Antônio da Silva (footballer) and fresh local talents, including Mario Gómez, Serdar Tasci and Sami Khedira, into a strong contender that led the league on 12 November 2006 for the first time in two years. Stuttgart established themselves among the top five and delivered a strong challenge for the Bundesliga title by winning their final eight games. In the penultimate week on 12 May 2007, Stuttgart beat VfL Bochum 3–2 away from home, took the Bundesliga lead from FC Schalke 04 and secured a spot in the 2007–08 UEFA Champions League. After trailing 0–1 in the final match of the season against Energie Cottbus, Stuttgart came back to win 2–1 and claim their first Bundesliga title in 15 years. The victory celebrations in Stuttgart (250,000 people) even topped those of Germany's third place win over Portugal in the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

In addition, VfB had their first ever chance to win the double as they also reached the final of the German Cup for the first time since their victory there ten years former. Their opponents in the cup final in Berlin were 1. FC Nuremberg, a team that had beaten them twice by 3 goals in regular season, 3–0 and 4–1, but last had won the cup in 1962. With the game level at 1–1 in the first half, Stuttgart's scorer Cacau was sent off. Nuremberg gained a 2–1 lead early in the second half, but the ten men of VfB managed to fight back and equalize. In the second half of extra time, with both teams suffering from exhaustion and the humid conditions, Nuremberg scored the winning goal.

Champions League 2007–08

The 2007–08 UEFA Champions League draw on 30 August 2007 paired the German champions with La Liga giants FC Barcelona, Ligue 1 champions Olympique Lyonnais and Scottish Premier League Old Firm side Rangers F.C.. Like in the 2003–04 Champions League season, Stuttgart's 2007–08 European campaign started with a match at Glasgow's Ibrox Park against Rangers. It ended in a 2–1 defeat. The second match at home against Barcelona was lost, too, 0–2, as well as the 3rd match, against Lyon at home, with the visitors coming out 2–0 winners from 2nd half strikes. Five defeats and just one win (over Rangers) meant the early exit on the European stage.
In the league they managed to become 6th after a poor start. New German national football team star Mario Gómez scored 19 goals.

Subsequently, UEFA Cup qualification was ensured in the summer by succeeding in the UEFA Intertoto Cup 2008.

2008–09 season

The 2008–09 season, like the one before it, came off to a bad start. After matchday 14 in November, VfB was only 11th in the table. As a result, Armin Veh was sacked and replaced by Markus Babbel. After exiting the DFB-Pokal after a thrashing 1–5 defeat to FC Bayern Munich in January, things improved considerably and the team ended up third, with 2nd place just being missed after a loss to Bayern Munich on the last matchday. That meant the chance of making the 2009–10 UEFA Champions League again.

Internationally, VfB mastered the group stages of the 2008–09 UEFA Cup, but lost to Cup defenders FC Zenit Saint Petersburg in the round of the last 32 in February.

2009–10 season: returning to the Champions League

Stuttgart went into the season with Mario Gómez gone, but Pavel Pogrebnyak arriving from FC Zenit and Alexander Hleb returning (on loan from FC Barcelona).

On the European level, VfB started the season with a huge success by qualifying for the group stage of the UEFA Champions League 2009-10. VfB entered that competition for the third time in six years (after 2003 and 2007) by defeating Romanian side FC Timisoara in the Champions League qualification "play-off round" on 18 and 26 August 2009. VfB were drawn into Group G against Spanish side Sevilla FC, Scottish champions Rangers F.C., against whom they had also been drawn against in their previous two Champions League Group Stage appearances, and Romanian champions FC Unirea Urziceni. With two wins (one each against Rangers and Unirea), three draws (one each against all opponents) and a loss (to Sevilla) they managed 2nd spot in the group, thus qualifying for the round of the last 16, where they had to face title holders FC Barcelona in late winter. After a superb home game against Barça which VfB, however, did not manage to win (1–1), they were eliminated in a 4–0 rout at the Camp Nou.

In the 2009–10 DFB-Pokal, they didn't proceed further than the last 16 either, losing to second-tier side Greuther Fürth. That defeat came in the course of a disappointing first half of the 2009–10 Fußball-Bundesliga. As a consequence of slipping to 16th spot in December, young coach Markus Babbel was fired after matchday 15 and replaced by the more experienced Swiss people Christian Gross. Under his tenure, VfB improved their situation domestically as well as internationally before the winter break. During that break, Thomas Hitzlsperger, Jan Simak and Ludovic Magnin left the club; Cristian Molinaro was loaned out from Juventus Turin. In the later half of the season, the team – as in 2008–09 – had a fantastic, almost unbroken, winning streak. As the best team of that second (return) round of the Bundesliga, the Swabians under Christian Gross climbed into the upper half of the table and, after a sensational rally, eventually managed to qualify for European football next season (i.e. the 2010–11 UEFA Europa League).

Stadium

The home ground of VfB Stuttgart is the Mercedes-Benz Arena which was originally built in 1933. It lies close to the River Neckar on Bad Cannstatt's Mercedes-Straße near the new Mercedes-Benz Museum and Mercedes-Benz factory. After being renovated several times, the stadium can hold a maximum capacity of 55,896 spectators (50,000 for international matches). Unlike most other Bundesliga stadiums, the former Neckarstadion retains the traditional athletic track around the playing field despite intentions to convert it into a football-only stadium. As for the 1974 FIFA World Cup, Gottlieb-Daimler-Stadion was one of the venues for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, hosting five preliminary round matches, a First Knockout Round match (England national football team vs. Ecuador national football team) and the third place play-off (Germany national football team vs. Portugal national football team). Since the 2008–09 season, the stadium was named the Mercedes-Benz-Arena, starting with a pre-season friendly against Arsenal F.C. on 30 July 2008. The stadium is currently undergoing extensive restructuring and rebuilding as it is being converted into a pure football arena. As building work continues, the capacity is reduced to around 41,000, while the final capacity will reach 60,000 at the end of 2011 (projected).

Rivalries, friendships and cooperations

The longest rivalry of VfB is the city rivalry with Stuttgarter Kickers (
Die Roten
/Reds against Die Blauen/Blues). However, the respective first teams of the two clubs haven't played each other since Kickers were relegated to the 2. Fußball-Bundesliga in 1992. Thus, this derby has increasingly been overtaken in importance by the Baden-Württemberg-Derby between VfB and Karlsruher SC, KSC, for short. In this derby, old Badenian-Württembergian animosities are played out. The rivalry with Bavarian side FC Bayern Munich (Süd-/South Derby) is mainly one-sided, as VfB fans are angry at Bayern for buying some of Stuttgart's best players and coaches in recent years, such as Giovane Elber, Felix Magath and Mario Gómez.

Regional friendships exist between VfB and the South Württemberg side SSV Reutlingen (little brother of VfB) as well as with North Württembergers SpVgg Ludwigsburg. On a national level, supporters groups of VfB used to be closely connected with those of FC Energie Cottbus, 1. FC Saarbrücken, Bayer 04 Leverkusen and Eintracht Frankfurt. All of these supporter group friendships have been discontinued by today or are only maintained by few supporter groups.

In 2005, a cooperation treaty between VfB and Swiss Super League side FC St. Gallen was signed, especially with regard to the youth sectors of both clubs.

Honours

National

- German football champions:
- - Winners (5): 1950, 1952, 1983–84 Fußball-Bundesliga, 1991–92 Fußball-Bundesliga, 2006–07 Fußball-Bundesliga
- - Runners-up (4): 1935, 1953, 1978–79 Fußball-Bundesliga, 2002–03 Fußball-Bundesliga
- DFB-Pokal:
- - Winners (3): 1953–54 DFB-Pokal, 1957–58 DFB-Pokal, 1996–97 DFB-Pokal
- - Runners-up (2): 1985–86 DFB-Pokal, 2006–07 DFB-Pokal
- German Super Cup:
- - Winners (1): 1992
- Premiere Ligapokal:
- - Runners-up (3): 1997, 1998, 2005

Regional

- Oberliga Süd (1945–63):
- - Winners (3): 1945–46, 1951–52, 1953–54
- - Runners-up (3): 1949–50, 1952–53, 1955–56
- 2nd Bundesliga Süd (1974–81):
- - Winners (1): 1977
- Bezirksliga Württemberg-Baden:
- - Winners (2): 1926–27, 1929–30
- - Runners-up (1): 1925–26
- Gauliga Württemberg:
- - Winners (4): 1934–35, 1936–37, 1937–38, 1942–43
- - Runners-up (4): 1938–39, 1939–40, 1940–41, 1941–42

International

- UEFA Cup:
- - Runners-up (1): 1988–89 UEFA Cup
- UEFA Cup Winners' Cup:
- - Runners-up (1): 1997–98 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup
- UEFA Intertoto Cup:
- - Winners (2): 2000 UEFA Intertoto Cup, 2002 UEFA Intertoto Cup

Youth

- Under 19 Fußball-Bundesliga
- - Champions: 1973, 1975, 1981, 1984, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 2003, 2005
- - Runners-up: 1972, 1977, 1982, 1999, 2002
- Under 17 Fußball-Bundesliga
- - Champions: 1986, 1994, 1995, 1999, 2004, 2009
- - Runners-up: 1988, 1990, 1998, 2002, 2003
- Under 19 Fußball-Bundesliga Under 19 Bundesliga South/Southwest
- - Champions: 2005, 2008

Club management

- Dieter Hundt, chairman, entrepreneur
- Gerd E. Mäuser, CEO & president since 17 July 2011
- Fredi Bobic, director of sport since 27 July 2010
- Jochen Schneider (football executive), director of sport

Players

As of 31 January 2012. For recent transfers, see List of German football transfers summer 2011 and List of German football transfers winter 2011–12.

The club's current squad:



Out on loan



Notable Players

For a list of notable players see List of VfB Stuttgart players

Coaches

Current coaching staff


Coaches since 1920

Managers of the club since 1920:

Bundesliga Position

The season-by-season performance of the club since 1963:

- 1963–64 Fußball-Bundesliga – 5th place
- 1964–65 Fußball-Bundesliga – 12th place
- 1965–66 Fußball-Bundesliga – 11th place
- 1966–67 Fußball-Bundesliga – 12th place
- 1967–68 Fußball-Bundesliga – 8th place
- 1968–69 Fußball-Bundesliga – 5th place
- 1969–70 Fußball-Bundesliga – 7th place
- 1970–71 Fußball-Bundesliga – 12th place
- 1971–72 Fußball-Bundesliga – 8th place
- 1972–73 Fußball-Bundesliga – 6th place
- 1973–74 Fußball-Bundesliga – 9th place
- 1974–75 Fußball-Bundesliga – 16th place (relegated to the 2. Bundesliga)
- 1975–76 2. Fußball-Bundesliga – 2. Bundesliga, 11th place
- 1976–77 Fußball-Bundesliga – 2. Bundesliga, 1st place (promoted to the 1. Bundesliga)
- 1977–78 Fußball-Bundesliga – 4th place
- 1978–79 Fußball-Bundesliga – 2nd place
- 1979–80 Fußball-Bundesliga – 3rd place
- 1980–81 Fußball-Bundesliga – 3rd place
- 1981–82 Fußball-Bundesliga – 9th place
- 1982–83 Fußball-Bundesliga – 3rd place
- 1983–84 Fußball-Bundesliga – 1st (German champions)
- 1984–85 Fußball-Bundesliga – 10th place
- 1985–86 Fußball-Bundesliga – 5th place
- 1986–87 Fußball-Bundesliga – 12th place

- 1987–88 Fußball-Bundesliga – 4th place
- 1988–89 Fußball-Bundesliga – 5th place
- 1989–90 Fußball-Bundesliga – 6th place
- 1990–91 Fußball-Bundesliga – 6th place
- 1991–92 Fußball-Bundesliga – 1st (German champions)
- 1992–93 Fußball-Bundesliga – 7th place
- 1993–94 Fußball-Bundesliga – 7th place
- 1994–95 Fußball-Bundesliga – 12th place
- 1995–96 Fußball-Bundesliga – 10th place
- 1996–97 Fußball-Bundesliga – 4th place
- 1997–98 Fußball-Bundesliga – 4th place
- 1998–99 Fußball-Bundesliga – 11th place
- 1999–2000 Fußball-Bundesliga – 8th place
- 2000–01 Fußball-Bundesliga – 15th place
- 2001–02 Fußball-Bundesliga – 8th place
- 2002–03 Fußball-Bundesliga – 2nd place
- 2003–04 Fußball-Bundesliga – 4th place
- 2004–05 Fußball-Bundesliga – 5th place
- 2005–06 Fußball-Bundesliga – 9th place
- 2006–07 Fußball-Bundesliga – 1st (German champions)
- 2007–08 Fußball-Bundesliga – 6th place
- 2008–09 Fußball-Bundesliga – 3rd place
- 2009–10 Fußball-Bundesliga – 6th place
- 2010–11 Fußball-Bundesliga – 12th place




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