nAlexander Wehrl lived in Rhineland for nine years, working as general manager of 1. FC Köln. As a Swabian, this is a time of extreme deprivation, particularly with regard to cooking, stresses Werl, who was born in Bettigheim-Bissingen. Because north of Frankfurt – with the exception of Berlin – there are usually not enough pastries and Maultaschen.
When Wehrle returned to VfB Stuttgart at the end of March succeeding Thomas Hitzlsberger as CEO, he craved primarily for specialties from home. “I have a lot of time to catch up,” says the 47-year-old. That is why Maultaschen often eats in all variations of the club restaurant.
The stakes are high
On the last day of the match, VfB meets Cologne at their stadium on Saturday (3.30 pm in the FAZ live tape of the Bundesliga and Sky). of all things. While the Rhinelands are allowed to play internationally next season, it is up to Stuttgart to remain in the Bundesliga. For Wehrle, this is a special game after the eventful years in FC.
But he doesn’t get emotional, there’s a lot at stake for that. “The only thing that matters to me is that we get three points,” he says. If his team wins and Hertha Berlin loses in Dortmund, Stuttgart will move up to 15th place and guarantee another season in the Bundesliga.
Felt tote bag
Werle is confident that this constellation will materialize. Above all, the 2-2 win over champions Bayern Munich increased the players’ self-confidence. “Momentum is on our side,” he says. But one of the problems that has reliably accompanied the Stuttgart team so far is the lack of opportunity. So far, VfB players have been wasting a lot when it came to scoring chances, at times they almost missed the goal, including in the Munich game.
So it’s no surprise that striker Sasa Kalajdic said afterwards, “We feel like we’re lucky.” Nobody knows what to expect in VfB before a match, even players are often a mystery. After they seemed to have acclimated to landing in front of a second-tier third party, it was now possible to stay in the class head-on. “If anyone can create something like this, it’s us,” says Kalajic.
On the other hand, Whirl rates everything less dramatically, players often play good football, he says, “but the results have been missing.” He doesn’t want to pass on insider knowledge about Cologne.
Coach Pellegrino Matarazzo and the analysis team gathered enough knowledge and data and intensively examined the opponent: “They don’t need any hints from me.”
Matarazzo’s landing future is open
The CEO doesn’t want to talk about the possibility of VfB going down, but he has of course dealt with the scenario. Stuttgart has applied for the license for both Sections I and II.
In the event of relegation, they want to return to the Bundesliga immediately. Both with Matarazzo and sporting director Sven Mislintat remains open. Whirl says the assessment of the overall situation occurs after the season.
It will be easier for the club to get continuity and more peace in planning for the team if he stays in the Bundesliga. However, VfB depends on transfer income, so Kalajic and left-back Borna Sosa are likely to leave VfB in the summer. “If the players want to take the next step, we have to accept that,” Wehrle says.
As CEO, it is important for him to occupy a strategic position in VfB in the coming years so that the club becomes again attractive to economically strong companies.
In addition to reliability and sporting success, this is achieved above all by not only recruiting young players from our youth into the professional squad, but also developing them in such a way that, ideally, they will be regular players there.
“That should become one of our characteristics again,” Werle says. The capabilities are there. The B-Juniors recently lost to Schalke 04 in the German Championship final, while the A-Juniors reached the cup final against Dortmund.
Wehrle himself was so talented as a young winger at TV Möglingen that he could have transferred to VfB after a trial session. But his parents had other plans, the boy studied after high school and community service and then started in 2003 – to the delight of parents – as a graduate management scientist at VfB as an advisor to then-President Erwin Studd.
Fairleigh lived out the 1992 Championship as a fan, on Saturday against 1. FC Köln, the team will wear a special jersey very similar to the jersey for the 1991/92 championship season. The campaign was planned long in advance, but they are a bit superstitious in VfB. The team wore special shirts four times this season and won with them four times.