Tenth place in the table on 19 points is at any rate not where the South West's traditional powerhouse envisioned itself at the half-way point of the campaign and head coach Thomas Schneider has plenty of work in store in his first match-free weeks in charge. On the upside, he also has plenty of familiar – and very promising – local talent with whom to do that work. bundesliga.com has the overview on Stuttgart's season so far.
After Stuttgart lost their first three games the management moved swiftly, parting with Bruno Labbadia and giving Thomas Schneider a shotgun promotion from the reserves. The new coach kicked off with a 6-2 hammering of Hoffenheim on Matchday 4 and two wins and four draws followed before the he tasted defeat for the first time – a 6-1 drubbing at Dortmund. Results have been patchy since but with an emerging crop of in-house talent, the mood at the club and among the fans remains upbeat.
In such a topsy-turvy season it has been difficult for even the side's most experienced Bundesliga performers to play to their potential week-in, week-out. At 29, is one of the more senior hands on board and the Bosnia-Herzegovina centre forward has certainly been doing his level best to lead by example. Joint-fourth on the individual scorers' chart with nine goals, Ibisevic has chipped in with three assists as well and Schneider will be looking to him to maintain that form over the months ahead.
Inconsistency has been a major problem at both ends of the park, but there are a couple of particular areas up front where Stuttgart have shone – getting out of the blocks quickly being one of them. No other side in the top flight can match VfB's quota of eight goals scored in the opening quarter-hour. Their aerial prowess is up there with the best as well. Eight headed goals so far is just one behind division category leaders Bayern München.
“This is our stadium, and this is where we put on a show.” Thomas Schneider set out his stall early on, displaying his credentials as one of a new generation of coaches dedicated to fast and furious forward play. The 4-2 home win against Hannover 96 on Matchday 15 offered a taste of what he hopes the future holds in store on a more regular basis.
17-year-old became the youngest player ever to turn out in the Bundesliga for Stuttgart when he came off the bench against Leverkusen on Matchday 4. He went on to rack up 14 appearances in the first season-half, scoring four goals and providing the same number of assists as well as carving out more than 30 chances. The Germany U-19 forward is the youngest and perhaps the brightest of an up-and-coming clutch of hot VfB prospects.
Take a look at Ibisevic's eye for goal courtesy of the Bundesliga's official YouTube channel: