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Stuttgart old boy

Gomez expects mixed reaction from VfB crowd

The clash between southern rivals Bayern and VfB Stuttgart is just another game for most of the players involved, but not for Mario Gomez. After eight years with VfB, the Germany international switched to the Säbener Strasse last summer from the side who finished third in the league. The 24-year-old returns to his former stamping ground for the first time on Saturday.

“Going back for the first time is obviously very special,” said Gomez on Friday. The striker fired 63 goals in 121 Bundesliga appearances for Stuttgart, “and I had some great times,” he agreed. Ironically enough, his last goal for VfB came in the final match of the season, a 2-1 defeat away to his new club.

Gomez’ former club are languishing in 14th place in the table, have yet to win in the Champions League, and were dumped out of the cup by second division Greuther Fürth in midweek. VfB have lost their last five matches, scoring just twice in the process. Only three top flight teams have scored fewer goals. “There’s no question about it: we miss Mario Gomez,” confessed boss Markus Babbel.