Stuttgart’s championship title in 2007 had many faces. Mario Gomez’s star, 21 at the time, was just rising, Sami Khedira, 20, was playing his first year as a professional, while the previously unknown Armin Veh sat in the coaching bench. There were the two Mexicans Pável Pardo and Ricardo Osorio, who the young VfB manager Horst Heldt held directly in Germany after their strong 2006 World Cup. At the age of 25, Thomas Hitzlsperger was almost one of the veterans in the Stuttgart championship team.
Stuttgart celebrated VfB, in Munich, on the other hand, Uli Hoeneß let the attack department escalate. The club had only finished fourth and missed the Champions League. A debacle – and Hoeneß spent almost 100 million euros in response that summer. Coach Ottmar Hitzfeld wanted a new center forward, Hoeneß got two, Luca Toni and Miroslav Klose came.
Hitzlsperger comes from a time when alpha animals still shaped the Bundesliga. Besides Hoeneß Werders there was Klaus Allofs, Felix Magath was involved, Giovanni Trapattoni was one of the coaches at VfB von Hitzlsperger. The league seemed louder then than it is today, more polemical, it was even more balanced at the top. But it also changed.