In the arduous 1-0 cup win in Dresden, VfB Stuttgart had to do without their ailing stars Sasa Kalajdzic and Borna Sosa. Perhaps they will soon be absent entirely should they leave the club. Another player, on the other hand, collects many plus points.
Dresden (dpa / lsw) - It could well be that the start in the DFB Cup was also a personnel anticipation of the upcoming season in the Bundesliga. After all, it is still considered likely that VfB Stuttgart will also lose goalscorer Sasa Kalajdzic and left-back Borna Sosa in the current transfer period, in addition to midfielder Orel Mangala, who has switched to Nottingham Forest. Because both are currently injured, the team had to do without them in the 1-0 (1-0) win at third division Dynamo Dresden on Friday - and managed the task with difficulty, but successfully.
"We had to fight to the end, so it was a good start. That's the basis for every competitive game," said VfB coach Pellegrino Matarazzo on his team's performance, which after the yellow-red card for defender Waldemar Anton (67. minute) had to play outnumbered for almost half an hour. Nevertheless, when the Bundesliga starts next Sunday (3:30 p.m.) at home against Champions League participants RB Leipzig, VfB must "certainly go one step further," explained Matarazzo.
Apparently, the Swabians also have to add something to their courtship for defender Jakov Medic from FC St. Pauli. According to the "Stuttgarter Nachrichten" and "Stuttgarter Zeitung", VfB and the central defender should agree on a change, but the Hamburgers have rejected an initial offer and demanded a higher transfer fee. The 23-year-old Croatian's contract runs until 2024.
In Dresden, when right-back Josha Vagnoman made his competitive debut at VfB, attacking man Silas played on the left flank instead of Sosa. In attack, Darko Churlinov, who returned from a loan from Schalke 04, provided the second striker alongside Tiago Tomás - and promptly scored the winning goal in the first half (33rd).
But even with the North Macedonia international, who normally plays in attacking midfield, it is not certain whether he will actually stay in Stuttgart, despite his good performance. A return to Bundesliga promoted Schalke is still not out of the question. But that's not the plan, said VfB sporting director Sven Mislintat. After all, Churlinov showed in Dresden that he could be valuable for the Matarazzo team, even if Dynamo plays two classes below the Stuttgart team. The 22-year-old made a good impression in the pre-season.
The player himself did not want to comment on the transfer rumours. "I'm with VfB. I'm currently concentrating on my football," he said succinctly. Mislintat was more talkative: "Darko always said very clearly that if Schalke can't finalize it at the time, he's clearly a VfB player." Churlinov "definitely has arguments to be an important factor for the season," Mislintat said. "Darko is good for us with his energy as an absolute mentality player."
After the mixed performance after the break in Dresden, Stuttgart will have to improve against cup winners Leipzig to get three points. It may well be that at least Kalajdzic will be there again. Maybe Sosa too. A departure of the two stars is not excluded. He would bring the club transfer proceeds of probably more than 50 million euros. Mislintat has already announced that VfB may sign another striker - regardless of Kalajdzic staying.