Stuttgarter Kickers: Road to Tokyo – Part 6 | @Winkveron

Happy Hump Day! Dan’s brilliant job with the Stuttgart Kickers continues…

We’re finally up and running in the league.

We open our European campaign with a breathless draw. We’re disappointed to let a two-goal lead slip, but we were the better team and I’m quietly confident we can get out of this group.

The Stuttgart derby, and a basement battle, as 17th host 18th. We lose 1-0.

Another league defeat. Against ten men. Jensen missing a penalty after seven minutes a real “sliding doors” moment.

A club-record crowd comes out to see us – with ten players missing – beat the Israeli visitors.

Two-nil down at halftime, and we come back to win 3-2. What a result! Two league wins on the bounce move us up to 16th, but the board are starting to complain about the league position. The dreaded “vote of confidence”.

Considering how decimated our squad is, I’ll take this result.

An emphatic victory in the league.

We score a last-minute equaliser from a corner. The positive aspect is that we’re unbeaten in four group-stage games. However, we’ve drawn three so have just six points. We need at least four points from the last two games to stand a stand of qualifying for the last eight.

The league form is picking up. We’re into the top 10 for the first time this season, and we have at least two games in hand over everyone above us.

Another Champions League draw. However, we played the last 27 minutes plus stoppage time with ten men. We started the game with just one sub, which I used in the 61st minute – then Icelandic man got injured. It feels like two points dropped but such is the nature of the group we can still finish top if we beat Chelsea away (by two clear goals) and Benfica fail to beat Maccabi Haifa

A win in the last league game before the winter break.

We’re in the ascendancy.

We win, but only by one clear goal, which isn’t enough.

Benfica beat Maccabi Haifa anyway, so it’s irrelevant. It’s frustrating to exit the competition despite being unbeaten in eight (including the qualifying round). I’m ruing the draw with the Israelis, their only point of the campaign.

All that’s left to play for is the league. Can we sneak into the European spots and secure another crack at continental football next season?

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