Stuttgarter Kickers: Road to Tokyo – Part 7 | @Winkveron

Happy hump day! Here’s Dan with the Stuttgart Kickers, needing a strong finish to the season to worry the upper echelons of the Bundesliga…

We go a season high sixth after a 3-0 win at Karlsruhe. With the games in hand, we couldn’t finish second again, could we?

That’ll teach me to get giddy. We fall at home to fourth-place Leverkusen in the very next game. Brown and Pizzi are both out for a month.

We also lose the following two games, but then win big in the return against Bayer Leverkusen.

Munich 1860 more or less sew up second place with this win. At this point, UEFA Cup football is my aim for next season.

The city is blue and black. We go fourth!

A big three points against fellow UEFA Cup chasers Werder Bremen.

I feared the worst when Brown was sent off after 84 minutes, but thankfully the Norwegian beanpole Tore Andre Flo let us off the hook. We go third with four games to go.

Hat trick for Pizzi! Where has this man been all season? He must’ve heard the news that I’m binning him off in the summer.

We finish the season with a win in the capital.

We finish third, a miracle given the start we had to the season. The two Munich clubs are formidable and giving them a head start is not the best of ideas. Although we’re no closer to winning the Club World Cup, European qualification is never to be sniffed at.

Despite another club-record average attendance in our expanded stadium, this shows what we’re up against.

Thanks for your service Juan Antonio…but it’s time.

I’m not Matt Le Tissier; I don’t deal in baseless conspiracy theories. But how have I never won the manager of the month award? In four years – with a tiny club – I’ve won promotion and qualified for Europe twice on a shoestring budget.

Good profit on a 29-year-old whose output has decreased massively.

This lad comes in for just £450,000.

And the Raí regen, who goes on to become one of the best attacking midfielders on the game.

Thankfully we exit the pre-season cup in the first round, leaving me to concentrate on strengthening the squad. Took Brown just 32 minutes to make his feelings about the Liga-Cup known.

I’m happy with the summer business. Asanovic is the Davor Suker regen.

We’ll need to start the 2001/02 season better than we did the last if we’re to get back into the Champions League.

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