Stuttgarter Kickers: Road to Tokyo – Part 2 | @Winkveron

It’s hump day and to help us begin the descent to the weekend it’s Dan, back again with Stuttgart Kickers as they attempt to adapt to life in the top tier.

Game three, and we pick up our first win of the Bundesliga season. Despite having 44% possession, and six shots compared to St. Pauli’s 19, we somehow manage to blag our way to a 1-0 victory up north in Hamburg. Gudjohnsen proves once again that there is life in the old dog yet.

A confidence-boosting drubbing of non-league Munster sees Gudjohnsen and Brown continue their rich vein of early season form. Tenner on Wes Brown to win the golden boot, anyone? Summer signing from Ajax Benedict McCarthy grabs his first goals of the season.

Wow. A 4-0 masterclass against the 1997 European champions in front of their hostile yellow wall.

And the goals continue to flow. £70k signing from Partick Thistle, Robert Dunn, with a brace.

But his Scottish teammate, Billy McDonald, is on his bike. Signed for just £450,000 10 months earlier, there was no way I could turn down this amount of money. I should’ve worn a mask.

The DFB Pokal dream ends in brutal fashion thanks to Toni Polster and Cologne.

But a few days later a pick-me-up comes away from home, in the Stuttgart derby.

The big games continue to come thick and fast and I’m starting to feel we belong at this level. We come from 2-0 down to draw with Bayern Munich.

The average attendance table shows how difficult the challenge is for us. Comfortably the lowest attendance in the league, and therefore the smallest chance of raising funds through gate receipts to improve the team

We head into the winter break in ninth, something I’m more than happy with. Champions Munich 1860 are in a familiar position. Our city rivals, Stuttgart, are one point behind us having played a game more.

There will need to be some Harry Redknapp-style deals going on during the winter break. Not opening bank accounts in the Cayman Islands in my dog’s name, I mean selling a couple of players and bringing one or two in.

Mainwaring is off, for a £745k profit.

Like Mainwaring, De Jong was also signed from non-league for £5k. Again, it was an offer to good to refuse.

The money from these two sales was ploughed straight into Barcelona’s bank for the services of Argentine-born Spaniard Juan Antonio Pizzi. A man who scored 20 in 24 for them in a season and a half is a no brainer.

Hopefully his goals can fire us to glory – well, I mean mid table – in the second half of the season.

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