After claiming the World Cup title with France over the summer, Benjamin Pavard has had a difficult season with VfB Stuttgart. The Swabians currently sit in the 16th spot in the table with 11 points, just two points ahead of the 17th and 18th placed Hannover 96 and Fortuna Düsseldorf, respectively. Needless to say, Pavard and Stuttgart face an uphill battle under Markus Weinzierl.
In an interview with kicker, the 22-year old defender brooded on some of the personal mistakes he’s made this season that have cost Stuttgart points. The physical and emotional toll from the World Cup in Russia, he admitted, was something he completely underestimated:
I take responsibility for the mistakes that I’ve made. I was really tired after the World Cup and underestimated some things. I was happy to be on the roster for Russia at all.
Given the well-known interest that Bayern Munich have in signing him, Pavard may certainly feel pressure to perform, especially after such an impressive World Cup campaign with France. At such a young age, the psychological effects from a spell of bad form, combined with the pressure of being tracked by a top club like Bayern, can be incredibly difficult to deal with. That’s why he stressed the importance of not letting his work rate slip:
I know where I come from and that you fall far if you stop working hard.
Bayern tried over the summer to convince Stuttgart to part with Pavard early, but Michael Reschke and the rest of Stuttgart’s front office weren’t interested. Bayern were prepared to offer a handsome fee over the €35-million required to trigger his release clause next summer, but Stuttgart was unwilling to let Pavard go for any price. Pavard, however, acknowledged that he’s open to anything in the future despite being focused on helping Stuttgart climb back up the table for the remainder of the season:
It’ll be difficult, but we want to win points. [As far as my future] everything is open.