Stuttgart's starting XI if they hadn't sold their best players

Serge Gnabry & Joshua Kimmich were both on Stuttgart's books in their younger days

Stuttgart's decline in German football over the past few years has been quite sad to see.

The five times Bundesliga champions scooped the nation's top footballing prize back in 2006/07, but they've been on a downward slope ever since.

Last season, they were eventually relegated to Germany's second-tier, despite having the likes of Mario Gomez and Daniel Didavi within their ranks.

It's a long way back to the top for the team that has played home to legendary figures such as Jurgen Klinsmann, Mathias Sammer, Giovani Elber, Hakan Yakin and Aleksandr Hleb down the years.

Even in recent times, Stuttgart have had some of the finest players in European football in the present day on their books and you can create quite an amazing XI of star names that have left the club.

If you put this team together now, they would probably challenge Bayern Munich for the Bundesliga title.

GK - Bernd Leno (Arsenal)

The Gunners' brilliant shot-stopper made a name for himself in Stuttgart before moving to Bayer Leverkusen.

RWB - Jeremy Toljan (on-loan at Sassuolo from Borussia Dortmund)

The German hasn't quite lived up to expectation at Dortmund just yet, but there's plenty of time for the 25-year-old to do so.

CB - Benjamin Pavard (Bayern Munich)

The Frenchman is a regular with Les Bleus and is already thriving at Bayern. A versatile and world-class defender.

Pavard in action with Stuttgart

CB - Ozan Kabak (Schalke)

The Turk recently swapped Stuttgart for Schalke and the 20-year-old is widely recognised as one of the best young players on the planet.

CB - Antonio Rudiger (Chelsea)

A rock at the back for Chelsea and a regular in Germany's international squads. Stuttgart sold Rudiger to Roma for less than £5m...

LWB - Filip Kostic (Eintracht Frankfurt)

One of the Bundesliga's best. The Serb has 11 assists in 29 league games this season and is capable as both a left-wing back and an out-and-out winger.

Kostic in action with Stuttgart

CM - Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich)

The German is one of the foremost midfielders in the world. Bayern paid just £7m for Kimmich and he's probably worth 20 times that amount these days.

CM - Sami Khedira (Juventus)

The 33-year-old's best days are behind him, but we reckon he'd still smash it alongside the youthful brilliance of Kimmich.

CM - Sebastian Rudy (on-loan at Hoffenheim from Schalke)

Rudy's move to Bayern was a bit of a disaster, but the German international is still one of the Bundesliga's finest on his day.

Rudy in action with Stuttgart

ST - Serge Gnabry (Bayern Munich)

Before his move to Arsenal, Gnabry was on Stuttgart's books but he never made an appearance for their senior team. He's now one of the world's elite forwards, with 12 goals and 11 assists in 28 league games in 2019/20.

ST - Timo Werner (RB Leipzig)

Chelsea's future number nine has been on fire in 2019/20, scoring 25 goals and assisting another eight in just 30 Bundesliga games. That £13m fee Leipzig paid Stuttgart in 2016 looks an absolute steal now!

What. A. Team.

Pavard, Kostic, Kimmich, Gnabry and Werner are five of the Bundesliga's best players and the support around them is top notch as well.

News Now - Sport News