Mainz vs Stuttgart Preview

Stuttgart striker Vedad Ibisevic has a warning for opening-day opponents Mainz as he looks to carry on scoring for the Swabians.

An uncomfortable save for the keeper.

Ibisevic has accounted for Stuttgart's last three goals, scoring in June's DFB-Pokal final and a Europa League qualifier.

Responsibility rests on his shoulders, but Ibisevic insists that is not something which weighs him down in the slightest, and he has set himself a cheeky 102-goal target.

"I'm on top of my game, feeling good and have done well in pre-season," he told Stuttgart's website. "We've got 34 Bundesliga matches, so how much is 34 multiplied by three? That's the number of goals I'd like to score."

Ibisevic managed 15 last season but is looking for an improvement in 2013/14.

"A striker is never happy with the number of goals they score and I always want to score more," said the Bosnian.

"What matters is there is always this hunger to score. But what matters the most is that we reach our goals for the season, and if I only get 10 or 12, then I'd still be very happy."

Adam Szalai was Mainz's top goalscorer last season with two fewer than Ibisevic's total, but he is no longer at the club having moved to Schalke.

Replacing him is the biggest task Mainz coach Thomas Tuchel has had this summer, and he raided Stuttgart for a solution, signing Shinji Okazaki.

"He's an extraordinary signing for us," said Tuchel. "He's shown what he is capable of for Stuttgart and Japan."

Okazaki's arrival also "increases the competition for places", according to Tuchel, who says keeping his players on his toes "is necessary, because the league is getting harder and harder to play".

"We have gained quality in every department," added Tuchel at the pre-match press conference.


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