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VFB STUTTGART (Neckarstadion)
After spending a rather 'refreshing' evening at the Brauhaus Schönbuch, I decided an early morning stroll over the bridge, over the River Neckar, into the district of Bad Cannstatt would be the best option to start the day!
VFB, formed in 1912 through a merger of Stuttgarter FV and Kronen-Club Cannstatt, are a famous name in German football. They were founding members of the Bundesliga have been champions on 5 occasions, the most recent being in 2007.
This season however they have to be content with a Europa League berth, having already guaranteed themselves a place in the qualifying rounds by finishing (at least) 6th.
A win today, and other results going in their favour, could see them finish 5th and go straight into the group stages, but that would require a Leverkeusen loss at lowly Nuremberg.
Opponents Wolfsburg also had a chance of the Europa league, but again it would require a win for themselves and a loss for Hannover against already relegated Kaiserslautern.
Wolfsburg did their best best to keep to their side of the bargain.
After withstanding early Stuttgart pressure, they took the lead after 28 minutes, Patrick Helmes firing home unmarked after a good square ball from the right.
It looked like game over for the homesters, but in an amazing 6 minute period they found themselves in the lead. After 73 minutes Cacau headed home before Maza (77m) turned to fire home another cross, to level things up. Within seconds Wolfsburg hit the upright, but the ball went up field and Ibrahima Traoré (79m) met the ball at the back stick to give The Swabians the lead.
This seemed to knock the stuffing out of Wolfsburg and they never looked like getting themselves back into the game, if anything Stuttgart could've extended their lead, Vedad Ibišević having an effort cleared off the line late on.
The stadium is very impressive and today there was a fantastic atmosphere with a superb choreographed display of flags and banners. I must also pay tribute to the stewards who were happy to allow me, and many others, to stand in the aisles to keep dry as the heavens opened. I would've got drenched otherwise and also, it gave me a much better view of the Stuttgart goals!