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Professionals, 5. March 2018

„We’ve not achieved our goal yet“

The 3-2 win in Cologne saw head-coach Tayfun Korkut’s men take a further, major step towards top-flight survival, but the focus is now immediately switched to the home game against Leipzig. Matthias Zimmermann returns to team training.

It may be merely a brief snapshot – but it’s certainly an enjoyable one for the Cannstatt Boys: For the first time since matchday 4, back in September of last year, VfB find themselves in the top half of the table – currently in ninth place. The reason: A run of four consecutive victories, as well as a 1-1 draw prior to that, has seen the Wasenelf claim almost the maximum haul of available points under the guidance of new head-coach Tayfun Korkut. The extent of VfB success is made yet clearer by the post-winter break standings: Since the beginning of this year, only FC Bayern Munich have a better tally in the league (22 points), followed by Eintracht Frankfurt and VfB, who are both on 16 points earned in 2018.

"A completely focused group"

On the day after the win away to Cologne, Tayfun Korkut praised the moral and comeback-quality within his team: "For the second time in the past four weeks, we have come from behind – this time securing all three points." A major part in that was indeed played by Mario Gomez with his brace – goals number three and four for the German international since returning to Stuttgart, and winter-signing Erik Thommy, who had a part to play in all three goals. Another significant element was the team’s decidedly more stable defensive display in the second period. However, Tayfun Korkut did warn of too elevated expectations: "We’ve not achieved our goal yet."

Matthias Zimmermann warms-up with the team

On Monday, the starting eleven went through a regenerative session in the fitness-room, whilst the rest were put through their paces in an intensive session in more spring-like temperatures out on the pitch: "The whole group are giving us the feeling that they are completely focused," noted Tayfun Korkut. On Monday, Matthias Zimmermann joined his team mates for the warm-up session for the first time since tearing his cruciate ligament at the end of August. Following a coordination work-out on the ball, Zimmermann continued with an individual programme. The 25-year-old is to be successively reintroduced to full team activity. The Cannstatt Boys will have their next complete session on Wednesday. After enjoying Tuesday off, the VfB players will begin with preparations focused on this Sunday’s home clash with RB Leipzig (15:30 CET) – when they will be gunning to continue their positive run.