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Matarazzo leaves Silas' starting prospects open: "He needs to step it up a notch"

By Peter Vice

As has congenitally been the case this season, the VfB Stuttgart injury situation is not looking good at all. 

At his Friday presser, head-coach Pellegrino Matarazzo cast doubt on the availability of attacking wingers Roberto Massimo and Borna Sosa. 

With both flankers out, it may be the case that "Silas" makes his long-awaited return to the starting XI. 
Pellegrino Matarazzo.
Pellegrino Matarazzo.
Pellegrino Matarazzo confirmed on Friday that Borna Sosa's back problems have precluded the Croatian international from being able to enter training. With one more session to go before a Sunday showdown with 1. FC Köln, the American head-coach didn't explicitly rule the 23-year-old roving wingback out of the coming fixture, but did note that Sosa was also having issues with his legs and knee.

After labeling a potential deployment for Sosa a "big question mark", Matarazzo then also reported that Roberto Massimo "is still in a lot of pain" after suffering a knee capsule injury in last Saturday's loss to Wolfsburg.

"We're trying to work him in training," the gaffer said of the Germany U21 international, "so that he can develop a good feeling and potentially be an option."

Naturally, the million-dollar question when it comes to Stuttgart revolves around a potential start for the Congolese phenom now known simply as "Silas". The 23-year-old from Kinshasa finally returned to much fanfare as a substitute in Stuttgart's round 13 win over Mainz after an ACL tear kept him sidelined for eight long months.

Silas has appeared off the bench in the three rounds since. As to whether the time had finally come to place him in the starting XI on his prolific place on the right flank, Matarazzo made clear he wasn't quite sure if his star attacker was ready yet.

"With Silas you can still see that energetically and tactically there is something missing a bit," Matarazzo noted, "but I won't rule out that he will play from the start. Let's see how it goes and what sort of impression he makes. He needs to step it up a notch, though."

A lot of the news in the Bundesrepublik with regard to Silas in the German media this week concerned whether the winger will have to return to Congo DR in order to obtain a new work visa under his proper name, Silas Katompa Mvumpa.

Matarazzo couldn't comments on the arrangements that the club was making for Silas. It seems likely that everything can be taken care of in good order during the 20 days between the Bundesliga's 17th and 18th rounds.

Silas will not, like other Bundesliga players, be on international duty for the Africa Cup of Nations during January. Congo DR did not qualify for this year's continental championship.

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