Sasa Kalajdzic (l.) and Borna Sosa take part in Stuttgart pre-season training back in July. - © Pressefoto Rudel/Robin Rudel via/imago images/Sportfoto Rudel
Sasa Kalajdzic (l.) and Borna Sosa take part in Stuttgart pre-season training back in July. - © Pressefoto Rudel/Robin Rudel via/imago images/Sportfoto Rudel

Kalajdzic and Sosa fuelling Stuttgart's hopes of Bundesliga survival


Stuttgart are headed into the climax of the Bundesliga season with their sights firmly set on top-flight survival, and with the dynamic duo of Sasa Kalajdzic and Borna Sosa combining to great effect once more, Die Roten are ready to push their relegation-threatened rivals all the way.

Flying left-sided full-back Sosa, and giant striker Kalajdzic have both had their injury problems during what has turned out to be a largely disappointing season for Die Schwaben thus far. Currently second bottom of the standings following just five league victories in 2021/22, Pellegrino Matarazzo's men are facing a big battle as they try to claw past those around them and into a position of safety. Yet their recent 3-2 victory against Borussia Mönchengladbach, in which Stuttgart came from 2-0 down to triumph, offered an impressive sign that the three-time Bundesliga winners are hitting fighting form at just the right time.

Watch: Stuttgart's thrilling comeback against Gladbach 

The 24-year-old striker Kalajdzic showed tremendous composure as he struck the winning goal against Gladbach with just seven minutes remaining last weekend. Ably assisted by Croatia international Sosa, it was the seventh time in the past two seasons the pair had combined to produce a goal. Indeed, five of Sosa's nine assists last term - two free kicks and three crossses - lead to Kalajdzic scoring and the hopes now for VfB fans going into the remaining nine games this term, is that their deadly duo can continue to transmit on each others' wavelength in order to fully benefit Stuttgart's push to ensure top-flight action at the Mercedes-Benz Arena next season.

"Borna was tireless on that left side, starting many attacks, winning tackles and even setting up the winner for 3-2; he had an incredible game," a delighted Matarazzo said of Sosa - who has managed 20 Bundesliga appearances this season. The talented 24-year has provided the passes that have ended in 38 Stuttgart shots while he has weighed in with five goal assists in 2021/22.

The former Dinamo Zagreb man is also the player who has made the fourth most crosses from open play - 83 - in the Bundesliga during the current campaign, of which seven have eventually led to a goal.

Kalajdzic, meanwhile, has been limited to seven appearances in Germany's top tier after undergoing an operation on the dislocated shoulder he sustained against RB Leipzig back in August. Added to that, a calf complaint also played its part in the forward managing just 513 minutes of game-time.

It has been a difficult blow for the Austria international, who was one of the standout stars for Stuttgart last season. Not since Martin Harnik had scored 17 times back in 2011/12 had fans of VfB seen one of their players get close to that mark until Kalajdzic did so last year, when he was the team's top scorer with 16.

The 6'7" striker even equalled Fredi Bobic's club record of scoring in seven Bundesliga games in a row while no other Stuttgart player ever previously managed to net eight headers in a single campaign, as Kalajdzic so memorably did last term.

Happy together: Sosa (r.) has provided seven goal assists for Kalajdzic in the past two seasons. - IMAGO / Pressefoto Baumann

Patience, then has been the watchword for Sosa and Kalajdzic, who are now both hoping to see out the season injury free. Kalajdzic has been involved in a goal in each of his last three appearances, providing an assist in the last-gasp loss against Hoffenheim and netting against Eintracht Frankfurt and Gladbach, both times set up by Sosa.

"We fought for every ball and every attack," Kalajdzic said after his team's win last Saturday. "The win is a big step forward. But we have to do better in the next game," he added. "Our fans have given us great support," Sosa explained. "We will keep fighting until the last game to stay in the Bundesliga." With their proven pair in the zone, Stuttgart's hopes of Bundesliga survival are that much higher.