Few people know VfB Stuttgart better than Andreas Hinkel. Our assistant coach came through the youth team ranks, played for the first team for six years, became a German international and started his coaching career all in Stuttgart.
Now he looks ahead to a return to his former stomping stomping ground.
On Saturday you return to Stuttgart as an opponent and our assistant coach. How much has your phone been ringing?
Not too much so far – we’ll see what happens. You tend to leave each other in peace around the game. Of course I still know many people at VfB Stuttgart – I was there for over 20 years and my family also live in the region. For those reasons it will be a special game.
In Leipzig people talk a lot about the “RB-DNA”. How do you see the “VfB-DNA”?
Even in my time in the academy there, the education at VfB Stuttgart is very broad. The focus is on versatile and technically good players that can adapt and play in any system. Whether that is Kevin Kuranyi, Christian Gentner, Andreas Beck, Sami Khedira, Mario Gomez or me. We all became international players because we were trained to a very high level at VfB. They are players that went on to play for the likes of Bayern München, Real Madrid and Juventus and played in various systems. The players are adaptable because they have a lot of tools to work with, given to them by the education you get at VfB.
What are you expecting from VfB on Saturday?
Things worked well in the 4-0 win in the reverse fixture, but we can’t take too much from that and assume that the same will happen this time around. VfB have developed further – they definitely won’t want to go into it the same way. But without revealing too much, we have already given some thought as to how we are going to be able to get something from the game.
It surprises me
23,100 fans were in the Red Bull Arena for the 4-0 win – the stadium will be empty in Stuttgart...
Unfourtunately the atmosphere will be a bit different without fans. It’s a real shame, and I’d say that whether we were playing home or away. Playing away in front of 60,000 fans can also be really motivating. I am expecting a completely different game not least because of the change in coach, and every coaching staff brings something that might change the outcome.
Only VfL Wolfsburg and Greuther Fürth (both 5) have lost more times at home in the league than VfB (4). Do we therefore have a good chance of a first away win?
It’s not that easy. I can’t explain VfB struggling at home. I remember them always being really strong at home in recent times. You could rely on them getting points at their own stadium. I’m surprised that is not happening at the moment. A lack of fans may have something to do with that. Even so, we are hoping that it doesn’t change on Saturday and we can get our first away win.