For just one night during at the start of Matchday 5, VfB Stuttgart sat pretty atop the Bundesliga, and memories of the Magische Dreieck – the Magic Triangle – were being evoked.
Twenty-seven years on from the dawning of one the Baden-Württemberg club’s most golden eras, comparisons with the gilt-edged trio of Giovane Elber, Krassimir Balakov and Fredi Bobic were being made by many of the 54,000 fans in the MHP Arena as Sebastian Hoeneß’ men saw off Darmstadt to continue their excellent start to the season, with a third straight home win taking them provisionally top.
Watch: Stuttgart 3-1 Darmstadt - highlights
Although they were eventually dislodged by Bayern Munich the next day, the only names on the lips of those west of the Bavarian border were those of Serhou Guirassy, Chris Führich and Enzo Millot – Stuttgart’s new magische Dreieck.
Following the 2-0 victory over Cologne on Matchday 6, Führich has already supplied two goals and four assists, while Millot has struck twice. Meanwhile Guirassy, who stands at the top of this triangle, became only the second player in Bundesliga history to have scored 10 goals after five games of a season, after Robert Lewandowski in 2021/22.
Considering 16 goals were enough to take the Torjägerkanone last term, Guirassy has 28 more games to strengthen his claim for that personal gong this term.
¨He’s incredibly effective,” said his coach Sebastian Hoeneß. “Above all the first goal which he made out of nothing and that turned the game around.
“He showed he’s got it all again tonight. He can score goals, he can set them up, he can hold the ball up and he can link up well with his teammates and he works hard when out of possession, which was also a factor.
“But he also knows what to make of it all and he’s keeping his feet on the ground and not getting big headed as he knows how important the team is and I think that’s one of his biggest strengths, also off the field.”
Watch: All 10 Guirassy goals after Matchday 5
Guirassy’s first goal against Darmstadt was topped by his second, when his delightful dink delivered the cherry on top of the latest fine team performance. In between, he teed up Millot for the second and shared a sublime exchange of passes with Führich which would have led to a goal-of-the-season contender had VAR not ruled the goal out for a marginal offside decision.
Indeed, the way the three combined was not only reminiscent of those Elber-Bobic-Balakov days, it fuelled Stuttgart’s suffering fans’ hopes that this season could finally see them return to the kind of battle they relished in the late nineties - a battle for silverware.
Elber, Bobic and Balakov scored 49 goals between them in the 1996/97 season, culminating in DFB Cup glory. Although the Swabians only finished that season fourth in the Bundesliga – a position which, in today’s currency, would be rewarded with UEFA Champions League football, their attacking brand of football saw them score a total of 10 goals more (78) than eventual champions Bayern.
After just five games of the current campaign, they are already the league’s second highest scorers with 19, one shy of Bayern’s and Leverkusen's 20. If they could maintain this rate to the end of the season, they would score a club record 107 goals.
That is all projections for the future, but after the recent past Stuttgart have endured - including survival via the play-off last term - it is a refreshing change for them to be able to harbour such dreams, and to revel in the present.
So while the fans start to reminisce and revel in their new magic triangle, Stuttgart are trying to keep some perspective. “What Serhou’s doing right now is of course amazing, but he’s not getting carried away,” said the club’s sporting director Fabian Wohlgemuth. “He’s a role model in terms of selflessness and also sets up chances, and we hope he’ll keep this run going and we’re just delighted to have him here.”
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