VfB Stuttgart gave their Europa League campaign a kickstart with a 2-0 win at FC København, a result which lifts Bruno Labbadia's side above their opponents and in contention for qualification from Group E.

After drawing 0-0 in Stuttgart a fortnight ago, it looked like the game was heading for yet another stalemate until Ibisevic broke the deadlock in the 76th minute. Martin Harnik made it two in stoppage time to earn Stuttgart their first win in the group stage, and move them up to second.

Deadlocked


Buoyed by a recent haul of 11 points in their last five Bundesliga games, Stuttgart knew it was time to deliver in Europe. Yet København badgered the Stuttgart players in possession and made it clear that they were just as keen on the points as their guests.

Patience was more a necessity than a virtue as Stuttgart had to wait for their chance, playing counter-attacking football. Andreas Cornelius squandered the chance to give an enterprising København side the lead in the 15th minute when he was denied by Sven Ulreich, and Stuttgart responded in a flash with Ibrahima Traore getting in the visitors' first shot of the game, albeit without endangering Kim Christensen in the København goal. It sparked Stuttgart into life, though, and Martin Harnik went closer to scoring in the 35th minute of a goalless first half.

Ibisevic decisive


Stuttgart had a chance to get the second half off to a flyer, but as Vedad Ibisevic’s header was hugged to his chest by Christensen, it seemed like a goal between these two sides was simply never going to arrive. Thomas Delaney headed wide at the other end before Christian Gentner gave Christensen another feel of the ball. The København goalkeeper was caught out by a speculative effort from Stuttgart substitute Arthur Boka as the game entered the final 15 minutes with the deadlock still to be broken.

As is so often the case, Ibisevic took matters into his own hands to nod Stuttgart in front, thanks to a cross from the increasingly dangerus Boka. It was the first goal in 166 minutes of intense battle between the two sides, but there were still 14 remaining for Stuttgart to hold on to their lead. With København throwing everything forward, Stuttgart capitalised on another counter-attack to clinch victory in the second minute of stoppage time, Harnik doing practically everything himself to cut in and fire a powerful shot beyond the reach of Christensen and complete Stuttgart’s first win in the group stage.

Line-ups:

FC København: Christensen - Jacobsen, Stadsgaard, Sigurdsson, Bengtsson - Grindheim (57' Jörgensen), Claudemir, Kristensen (80' Bolanos), Delaney - Santin, Cornelius.

Stuttgart: Ulreich - Sakai, Tasci, Niedermeier, Molinaro - Kvist - Harnik, Gentner, Traore (63' Boka) - Okazaki (87' Kuzmanovic), Ibisevic

Goals: 0-1 (Ibisevic 76'), 0-2 (Harnik 90+2')