With only a single blemish in the Bundesliga under coach Markus Babbel, VfB are zeroing in European competition. The bracing days of the autumn doldrums when the club was stumbling are memory long since cast aside Stuttgart has fought its way to the fifth in the table and look ahead to this Sunday's crucial battle against Martin Jol's HSV.
Since the start of the Rückrunde, VfB has continue on its steam-roller pace with only the uncharacteristic stumble against Bremen to forget. For "Babbel & Co." the match couldn't be better timed as it is the match a champion lustily waits for. Coming straight to the centre of the ring, VfB has a chance to "win" its way to the top of the table against the Hamburg side which presently co-holds the top of the table. A victory for Markus Babel will jettison their hopes for a Champions League berth, unimaginable in the dark days of November.
For Hamburg, the lofty spot seems to have them dizzy of late. A strong victory over Bayern started their year off right but they have stumbled with losses to relegation candidates Karlsruhe and Borussia Mönchengladbach. While the second-half of the Bundesliga season has marked an odd habit of the table virtually tipped on its end, for VfB the opportunity to "win" a berth in the Champions League starts with the first step on Sunday.