VfB Stuttgart have had a torrid time in the Bundesliga over the last few seasons. As the graphs show, since their title win in the 2006/07 season their league standings have declined. Obviously, no-one was expecting them to win the league every year a-la-Bayern, but the plummet in league positions and point totals is concerning for a club the size of VfB Stuttgart.
Perhaps one positive for the Swabians is due to their poor results and subsequent lack of funds they have been forced to develop from within, something many German clubs and Stuttgart, in particular, are rightly proud of. In recent history, Stuttgart have developed great talents in Sami Khedira, Mario Gómez, Sven Ulreich and Antonio Rüdiger. They also came 20th in a study by CIES that ranked clubs by the number of home-grown players playing in the top five European leagues.
Timo Werner is the latest player to benefit from Stuttgart’s youth-oriented philosophy. With the aforementioned lack of funds and emphasis on youth, Werner has managed to become a regular in Stuttgart’s line-ups since making his debut in August 2013 at 17.
Although he has been a consistent pick for all six of the managers he has played under at Stuttgart, his performances haven’t been so consistent. In the 2013/14 season Werner played 30 times (16 starts 14 as subs) scoring four and assisting five. The following season he made 32 appearances (16 starts 16 as sub) scoring three, assisting once. This season Werner will be hoping to break his underwhelming goal and assist tallies, he currently has three of each in his 16 appearances (13 starts three as sub).
|Werner possesses great pace which proves difficult for defenders to deal with. Most recently Wolfsburg’s Naldo and Timm Klose in Stuttgart’s 3-1 victory.||Werner’s finishing, as reflected in his Stuttgart goalscoring record leaves a lot to be desired and will need to improve if he is to make it to the top level .|
|Werner always tries to utilise his pace, regularly making runs in behind the opposition defence which while they don’t always come off they make defenders wary.||While the number of runs Werner makes is good he is offside far too often, should he improve the timing of his runs and maintain the regularity of them he will find himself with more opportunities to score goals.|
|Versatility – he can play effectively on the left-wing, as a second striker or as a mains striker.|
|There’s no doubt that Werner’s scoring record needs to improve, but the youngster has proved to be an effective foil for other attackers.|
With Stuttgart struggling in recent years very few players have been able to thrive, no matter who the manager is; because of this Werner should look to leave the club to play in a team with a higher standard of players in order to challenge and improve himself.
Werner was recently linked with a move to Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham which could be a step too far for him right now. Perhaps staying in his native Germany with a switch to Bayer Leverkusen or Borussia Mönchengladbach would be a good choice.
With Timo Werner aged just 19, it would be rash to give a definitive answer to the question posed in the title. However, Werner does have enough raw talent to be considered a rough diamond, and given that his main weaknesses are attributes that can be easily worked on, and are likely to improve with age, the right coaching and application from the player himself, seeing Werner playing at the top-level is a realistic possibility.