Philipp Förster was 19 when VfB Stuttgart told him that it would not be enough for a career in the Bundesliga. Via detours at Waldhof Mannheim, 1. FC Nürnberg and SV Sandhausen, he landed back at his youth club in 2019, which even paid a transfer fee for the now 26-year-old. He was not only welcomed with open arms by the fans.
Since the last second half of the season, Förster has been under coach Pellegrino Matarazzo at VfB Stuttgart, who will face RB Leipzig on Friday’s second Bundesliga matchday (8.30 p.m. LIVE against DAZN and in LIVETICKER). In an interview with SPOX and Goal, the attacking midfielder talks about private training sessions with Tim Lobinger, his preference for mustaches and about juvenile fruit battles with Joshua Kimmich at the youth boarding school of VfB Stuttgart.
Mr. Förster, you played in the youth of VfB Stuttgart from 2010 to 2014, but then VfB sent you away at the age of 19. How did you feel at the time?
Philipp Förster: At the time during the conversation, I couldn’t believe it. I thought to myself: “What is he saying?” Up until then, I only went up and then I was told that I couldn’t go on at VfB Stuttgart. That was a hard slap in the face.
Have you considered turning your back on the football business?
Ranger: No. It was clear to me that football should continue. Then, thank God, I met a physiotherapist who made it clear to me that fitness and hard work are the be-all and end-all. I started working with him and then thank God it clicked for me.
In what way?
Ranger: I may have relied too much on my talent by then. Only when I noticed that it couldn’t go any further and at some point VfB said, ‘Stop, stop!’ said, it became clear to me that it only works with hard work. I then internalized that. And since then it has been steadily increasing again. I switched to Waldhof Mannheim and started my career in the regional league there. I became a professional, so to speak, through a second course of education.
Philipp Förster: Stations as a professional
1. FC Nuremberg II
VfB professional Philipp Förster: Extra shifts with Tim Lobinger
All professionals would probably say that it doesn’t work without “hard work”. What does this hard work look like for you?
Ranger: In addition to team training at VfB, I regularly do strength training and try to go to Tim Lobinger’s personal training session once a week. I do yoga twice a week. Over time you understand what it’s about, what is important and what is good for you. Football is my job and that’s what I live for.
Do you have to put in extra shifts as a professional today?
Ranger: There is a saying, “Always do a little more than the others”. Good point. If you invest a lot in your body – also regeneratively – you get a lot back. You are also no longer so prone to injury.
How did the collaboration with the former pole vaulter and today’s personal coach Tim Lobinger come about?
Ranger: About Joshua Kimmich, who has known him for a long time. I’ve been working with Tim Lobinger for about a year and a half now.
You and Kimmich went to the youth boarding school of VfB Stuttgart. Are you still training together at Lobinger today?
Ranger: Usually the units are individual. There have been times when Jo was in front of me or directly after me and then we saw each other, but we don’t do the units together.
VfB paid a record fee for Förster to SV Sandhausen
What are you working on with Lobinger?
Ranger: Mainly on my leg strength and sprint speed.
What can Tim Lobinger do better in Munich than a trainer in Stuttgart?
Ranger: It’s not about whether someone can do something better or worse. But personal training is simply more individual. With 25 players in the squad, there is no time alone to cater to each individual and their needs to the same extent. So if you want to improve in a certain area, you have to make sure that you do it individually. That is the responsibility of each individual.
When you were still a SV Sandhausen player, you were asked “VfB Stuttgart or Waldhof Mannheim” in an either / or question format. You answered “Waldhof Mannheim”.
Ranger: (Laughs) Back then, my memories of the end at VfB were probably just too fresh.
In 2019, VfB brought you back from SV Sandhausen and even paid a € 3 million transfer fee. You were the record transfer of a sand house back then. Did you feel satisfaction?
Ranger: It was just a wonderful feeling to be back again. I’ve met a lot of familiar faces from before, which made it easier for me to settle in again. It was like coming home.