Stuttgarter Kickers: Road to Tokyo – Part 4 | @Winkveron

Hello and happy hump day. Dan is here with a new season for Stuttgart Kickers, can they make strides up the table?

We won the opening game, then the second, then the third. After beating double champions Munich 1860 we made it four wins out of four. What is going on?

The board continue to frustrate me. We’ve got a modest amount in the bank but every time I attempt to sign someone, they restrict me to offering just £3k a week in wages, meaning we’re unable to build on the early season success. What’s the point in making a profit on players if I can’t reinvest the funds?

I take my frustration out on Frankfurt.

We win 3-2, away from home, in the Stuttgart Derby, with Pizzi grabbing his 14th goal in just 13 appearances. We go three points clear at the top of the table.

Can we stay there? It would make Leicester’s Premier League title miracle in 2015/2016 pale into insignificance in terms of upsets.

The cup run – if you can call it a run, more like a limp – ends in the last 16, to a side from the second division.

We bounce back with a massive home win against second in the league.

Mid-November and we’re still top. However, it feels like a marathon where we’re sprinting to our full capacity, while the two Munich clubs are jogging ominously waiting for us to slip up.

A huge boost comes in the transfer market. We sign Ruud Gullit’s regen on a six-year contract for £3k (obviously) a week.

The £2m club-record fee leaves me with just over £2m in the bank, but it had to be done. We’re losing £300k a month so the financial situation is precarious – we have six months at this rate until we’re in the red – but you’ve got to speculate to accumulate.

This would’ve solved all my money worries but you can’t sell your best players during a title race, can you? We’re due to play Hamburg next; it must’ve been mind games!

The mind games didn’t work! A huge result, in front of a club-record crowd.

We’re top going into the winter break, and have held pole position for 18 of the 20 match days. Bayern are two points behind with two games in hand, but it’s better to have the points on the board, right?

We sold five squad players during the winter break, raising £3.3m. I’m hoping it’s not a repeat of last season, when I sold too many players and faded away. I could’ve gambled, risking financial ruin, and kept the players hoping they’d help us land the title. But I needed the money and don’t believe any of them have a long-term future at the club.

One of those is Claudio.

Mark Gower, a defensive midfielder from Spurs, came in on transfer-deadline day. Hardly the most inspiring signing but a much-needed extra body in the ranks.

We lose to 1860 in the first time after the break, and Bayern win, meaning we lose top spot.

We bounce back with a 4-0 home demolition of Dortmund.

Ipswich try to kill my vibe, offering a mouth-watering amount for Wes Brown. I turn it down.

We lose at home to Stuttgart, but follow it up with this…

Despite the goals of midfield maestro Manuel Viard, the Bavarian giants are well in control in the title race.

We win our next game, and Bayern come out on top in the Munich derby. The title may be gone, with four games remaining, but at least we’re in pole position for the runner up spot and therefore a Champions League qualifier. Well, we have a better goal difference.

We win, and both Bayern and 1860 draw. Second is looking more likely.

We’re made to sweat on the last day. We lose at home but then the news came through: 1860 had drew their game and we finished second on goal difference!

Next stop: Europe!

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