Stuttgart - VfB Stuttgart have signalled their intent for the 2014/15 second half of the season by becoming the first of the Bundesliga's 18 clubs to return to training during the winter break.
'We need every day'
The struggling Baden-Württemberg capital side put the players through their paces out on the club's training ground on Saturday (3 January), exactly a fortnight since their last game, a goalless draw at home to SC Paderborn on Matchday 17.
Head coach Huub Stevens seemed only too happy to get started on preparations to help the club climb the table in the remaining 17 matches. "We need every day, every training session," said the 61-year-old. "We want to get out of the scrap at the bottom and we can do it, but we need to work hard. The whole club - that also includes me, the fans and the people around the club - needs to do its part so that we can make this year successful."
Stuttgart have been enjoying an upward trend since the reinstallation of Stevens following the resignation of Armin Veh in November. The veteran Dutch tactician has presided over two wins and two draws in five games, but the memories of a 4-0 mauling at home to FC Schalke 04 will still be fresh, and the point against Paderborn leaves the club still just two points above 16th-placed Borussia Dortmund.
Relive some of the weirdest and most wonderful moments of the season so far below, courtesy of the official Bundesliga YouTube channel, which has now reached the 500,000 subscribers mark: