As goals from Claudio Pizarro, Fin Bartels and Anthony Ujah sent the fans at the Weser Stadium wild, VfB Stuttgart's supporters knew their destiny was practically sealed.

A 6-2 win for the northern Germany side on that Monday night in early May 2016 saw the two teams exchange places, Stuttgart dropping into the bottom two and Bremen rising out of it. Two more defeats to conclude the season sealed the Swabians' fate, with their 41-year presence in the Bundesliga brought to an end.

Of the players who took to the field that night in Bremen just over a year ago, only three remain on the club's books: full-backs Matthias Zimmerman and Emiliano Insua, and midfielder Alexandru Maxim. Captain Christian Gentner and forward Daniel Ginczek were unavailable that night, but they too chose to stick with the club following relegation.

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Timo Baumgartl, Daniel Ginczek and Alexandru Maxim (l.-r.) have remained with Stuttgart since relegation.

All this means that the players who will lead Stuttgart's return to the Bundesliga in August will bear little resemblance to those who slipped through the trapdoor. Timo Werner, Filip Kostic, Lukas Rupp, Geoffroy Serey Die, Daniel Schwaab, Martin Harnik, Georg Niedermeier, Daniel Didavi, Przemyslaw Tyton and Federico Barba all jumped ship following relegation as a rebuilding exercise took place.

The 11 players Hannes Wolf names in Stuttgart's first team selection of 2017/18 will be indicative of a slate wiped clean; a new beginning.

"You could see that our problems had penetrated right through to the soul," said sporting director Jan Schindelmeiser, who took the unusual step of replacing Jos Luhukay with Wolf just five games into last season. "It was about whether we were to take this club's DNA seriously or not."

That DNA is about showing faith in their own academy and believing in young, talented players. With two-time youth championship winner Wolf, who arrived from Borussia Dortmund, the chemistry was right for the kind of reaction the club needed, and it is with the same philosophy that the 2007 Bundesliga champions will return to German football's top table a decade on from that title-winning success.

Twenty-one-year-old Timo Baumgartl is now the pillar of the defence, not his ten-year senior Niedermeier. Twenty-five-year-old Zimmermann has emerged as a man for all occasions in defence and midfield, while 18-year-old Croatian forward Josip Brekalo and 21-year-old French full-back Benjamin Pavard are regulars, and his compatriot Jerome Onguene is set to earn his stripes in German football this season.

After scoring 25 in Bundesliga 2, Simon Terodde is keen to make his mark in the Bundesliga next season.

Up front, they can rely on last season's Bundesliga 2 top scorer Simon Terodde, who has committed his future to the club after scoring 25 goals last term. "Terodde is Stuttgart's life assurance policy," said Dieter Hoeneß, who was part of the Stuttgart side last promoted to the Bundesliga four decades ago. Back then, the Baden-Württemberg side hit the ground running in the top flight, finishing their first season in fourth.

Read: Terodde the key to Stuttgart's hopes

"One reason for our success back then was that we stuck together as a team and none of the key players left," added Hoeneß. With Terodde staying and much of Wolf's squad confirmed for the coming campaign, there is enough to suggest history could repeat itself at the Mercedes-Benz Arena next season.

Watch: Stuttgart's top ten goals from 2016/17

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