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Dec 13, 2012

Ibisevic puts Stuttgart success above goals

Stuttgart forward Vedad Ibisevic is not fazed by his place at the top of the Bundelsiga scoring charts and hopes Stuttgart boss Bruno Labbadia prolongs his contract.

Ibisevic currently tops the Bundesliga scoring charts with 10 goals. After a miserable start to the season, picking up a red card during the 6-1 defeat at Bayern Munich in September, he started scoring goals on his return against Nurnberg.

Since his winter transfer from Hoffenheim in 2012 Ibisevic has scored 18 goals in just 29 Bundesliga appearances. In 24 competitive games this season Ibisevic was on target 17 times. During last weekend's clash with Schalke the 28-year-old scored a hat-trick to secure his club's 3-1 win over the Royal Blues. The three points took Stuttgart up to sixth position and they narrowed the gap on third-placed Dortmund to only two points.

"The table is incredibly tight. We are only trailing Dortmund by two points," Ibisevic told kicker. "But we only lead Mainz by two and they are 11th. During the season we have seen several times, we should not look too far ahead. Once we start thinking too much, we run into problems."

Ibisevic claimed one of the reasons for Stuttgart's recent performances was that they kept calm after winning only two points in five games.

"I always knew what potential was in our team and have never lost faith," he said.

Ibisevic sits atop the scoring charts with 10 goals alongside Leverkusen's Stefan Kiessling and Frankfurt's Alex Meier, with Dortmund star Robert Lewandowski and Bayern forward Mario Mandzukic only trailing by one goal, but the Bosnian said that was not important to him.

"I don't have to win that race," he said. "I want to be successful with VfB Stuttgart."

The forward also backed his boss Bruno Labbadia to extend his 2013 contract, saying: "It's my wish the boss prolongs."

Ibisevic, who starred during Hoffenheim's first year in the top flight, claimed he still followed his old club.

In 92 Bundesliga games for Hoffenheim, Ibisevic scored 43 goals. He scored 18 of them during Hoffenheim's first half of the season in the top flight, but during the 2008/09 winter break he tore his cruciate ligaments and Hoffenheim, who had won the 'Herbstmeisterschaft' ['autumn championship'], dropped down to seventh position at the end of the season.

"Hoffenheim is in a difficult situation," he said. "I hope and I believe they will get out there."

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