Stuttgart have shown quality and experience in during their greatest test. DW's Jonathan Harding witnessed the win that kept them alive in the Bundesliga, against Paderborn
“It's been tough the whole time, but with this team it's been fun the whole time too. You have to believe me,” said Stuttgart head coach Huub Stevens after the game. And believe him we should.
Stuttgart went a goal down after four minutes, but turned it around to win and secure another year of Bundesliga football. Huub Stevens has been here before and he's saved Stuttgart before. Against Paderborn on Saturday, even despite conceding early, there was never any doubt the Dutchman was going to be the hero again.
The Dutchman knows how to handle pressure. Daniel Ginczek said after the game that the head coach had taken so much off the team that they were able to play the football they were capable of. Martin Harnik also said afterwards that Stevens had put the focus on week-to-week and not the entire picture.
Along with the help of the medical team, something Stevens himself applauded, Daniel Didavi proved the missing piece in midfield. Maxim came on just in time to assist Ginczek for the winner and the man who secured Stuttgart's Bundesliga status has been involved in nine goals in his last nine games – Stevens knows who to play and when. Motivation can also be added to his list of attributes – Filip Kostic, a player that Paderborn head coach Andre Breitenreiter hailed as the best player on the park, has been the winger the club have longed for.
In truth, Stuttgart were in exactly the same position last week and they turned a one-goal deficit into three points. Stevens knew his side were going to do it again, and in truth it could and probably should have finished four or five one to the visitors. The nerves of the day evidently taking the edge of their decent scoring record at the end of the season…
Even after going behind, the task never looked beyong Stevens and his men. Against it all, they pushed forward with the reward at the end enough to fuel the fire within each player. They didn't waver, or become nervous at any point.
Despite a serious front, Stevens obviously enjoys working with this team and his post-match press conference suggested he didn't want it to end any time soon. Securing Stuttgart's safety in the Bundesliga with his 150th league win was a nice moment. Perhaps Huub isn't ready to walk off into the sunset, again. There's no denying he's still got the Midas touch at the club.