Stuttgart - Goals from Alexandru Maxim and Martin Harnik earned VfB Stuttgart a priceless 2-0 win over Baden-Württemberg rivals SC Freiburg at the Mercedes-Benz Arena.

Three wins from their last four matches had seen Freiburg climb clear of the drop zone in recent weeks, but the Black Forest club nearly fell behind after a quarter of an hour when Daniel Divadi’s stinging shot from 25 yards out was tipped onto the crossbar by Oliver Baumann. Antonio Rüdiger then fired an effort straight into the arms of Baumann, and Christian Gentner fired wide from a promising position as the hosts finished the half on top.

VfB take the lead


The visitors almost made the most of Stuttgart’s profligacy ten minutes into the second period, but Admir Mehmedi’s header was palmed onto the post by the diving Sven Ulreich. It proved to be an important save, too, as Stuttgart fashioned the best move of the match to take the lead. Ibrahima Traore played a neat little one-two on the right-hand side, before laying the ball across to substitute Maxim, who tapped into the unguarded net to put Huub Stevens’ team 1-0 up.

It was another substitute, Timo Werner, who nearly doubled the hosts’ lead with 15 minutes remaining. The 18-year-old controlled Traore’s pass with his chest, before cracking a powerful effort against the crossbar. Ulreich then pulled off tremendous saves to deny Matthias Ginter and Mehmedi within minutes of each other, before Rüdiger struck the woodwork again at the other end. Harnik sealed the points for Stuttgart with two minutes left on the clock, firing home from close range and lifting the Swabians of the relegation zone, albeit on goal difference.

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