VfB Stuttgart’s UEFA Europa League campaign has hardly been the smoothest of outings, with the German side having come back from a serious slump in the first half of the group round to suddenly look like title contenders.
Having battled their way into the group stage thanks to a tough 2-1 aggregate victory over Dinamo Moscow, Stuttgart suffered a huge shock in their opening group games: drawing 2-2 with Steaua Bucharest before collapsing to a 2-0 defeat away in Molde.
The football in-play betting favourites were suddenly on the brink of an early exit and their inability to find a way past FC Copenhagen during a goalless draw in October threw their European credentials, which had gone the same was as their poor Bundesliga performances, into serious doubt.
However, after enduring a torrid start to the season, the German side has come together and started shoring up their leaky defence.
Ever since that Molde defeat, Bruno Labbadia’s men have sat down and restructured their play. A greater focus on attack, with the defence holding a high line, has pushed Stuttgart’s midfield up and the usually reserved William Kvist and co. have had to start working.
Indeed, form has arrived and thanks to the golden touch of Martin Harnik and the sometimes frustrating Vedad Ibisevic, Stuttgart have climbed up the Bundesliga and Europa League tables.
Their recent 5-1 victory away in Bucharest proved to the rest of Europe that Stuttgart are back on the map and are again serious contenders for the Europa League title.
With what should be a simple home game against Molde to come, the German side can now start concentrating back on the domestic front and continue their league form that at one point threatened relegation.