Pure relief at VfB Stuttgart. The Swabians were able to stay up in the league with a 2-1 win against 1. FC Köln, while Hertha has to go into relegation. Ironically, Sasa Kalajdzic laid the foundation for this success with his opening goal after missing a penalty 24 seconds earlier. But the emotional lap of honor that followed could also have been the farewell to the Stuttgart fans. The ÖFB team striker left open how things will continue after relegation. The two-meter man moved from Admira to Stuttgart in 2019, but his contract only runs for one year. Even Bayern Munich is said to be chasing the Viennese as a possible replacement for Robert Lewandowski.
The ÖFB striker proved that Kalajdzic has goalscoring qualities last week in a 2-2 draw against Bayern. It was the fifth goal in nine league appearances for the striker, who missed the first half of the season with a shoulder injury. Kalajdzic had been chosen weeks ago by coach Pellegrino Matarazzo as the man who should shoot Stuttgart to stay up. The wish came true. After the end of the game, all the dams broke among the VfB fans, and the ÖFB international was also carried through the stadium on various shoulders. Sports director Sven Mislintat did not want to see any connection with a possible farewell to Kalajdzic: “I think that his emotionality is also related to the course of this game. I also looked very emotional and I’m not changing clubs.”
However, VfB could still make money with their top scorer this summer. In total, it could be more than 20 million euros. After moving to Stuttgart, he initially suffered a cruciate ligament tear. After promotion, he made his big breakthrough in the pre-season with 16 league goals. Now the time is ripe for the next step.
In addition to Kalajdzic, other VfB players such as Borna Sosa or Orel Mangala are also traded at top clubs. “If I could wish for one thing, it would be if we didn’t lose a player and would be in the black. But that’s not realistic for a club like VfB at the moment,” explained Mislintat. The head of sports, like coach Matarazzo, should stay despite the nail-biter to stay up in the league. Mislintat: “I think it makes sense to sit down and analyze issues. We are ready to correct mistakes.”