In-form Sasa Kalajdzic scored again, but it was not enough for the win as VfB Stuttgart were pegged back in a 1-1 draw in their relegation six-pointer at Arminia Bielefeld.
A single point separated these teams at kick-off, with Bielefeld in the automatic relegation places and Stuttgart three rungs higher up. And while there are still several weeks remaining for both to pick up points, the stakes of the occasion were not lost on either side. Furious pressing and aggressive tackles dominated proceedings early on, and although Bielefeld - roared on by a record home crowd of 26,011 - looked the better team initially, they were unable to create any chances of note. Stuttgart were then handed – quite literally – control of the game when Patrick Wimmer conceded a penalty for handball, allowing Kalajdzic to put the visitors in front from the spot. Pellegrino Matarazzo’s charges could have killed the game off before the break, but both Chris Führich and Omar Marmoush fired wide from promising positions.
VfB had the first sight of goal after the interval too, with Marmoush causing mischief down the left and crossing into the middle, but Tiago Tomas could not keep his shot down and it fizzed over the bar. Bielefeld grew into the game as a consequence, aware they could still fight back. They made Stuttgart pay for their profligacy on the hour mark when Janni Serra flicked on Alessandro Schöpf’s right-wing cross for Florian Krüger to tap in at the back post. Stuttgart surged forward again in the closing stages and should have snatched the win when the unmarked Pascal Stenzel volleyed straight at Stefan Ortega from 10 yards, and moments later Atakan Karazor hit the post with a header following a goalmouth scramble. It made for a frantic, nail-biting finale as both teams searched for a winner, but ultimately each had to settle for a point.
- Kalajdzic took, and scored, his first penalty in the Bundesliga.
- The Austrian now has four goals and two asssits in his last six games.
- It was also the first spot-kick VfB have scored this season, after Marmoush missed against Wolfsburg on Matchday 15.
- Krüger scored his first ever Bundesliga goal.
- His strike ended Bielefeld's run of 455 minutes without scoring in the Bundesliga, since Masaya Okugawa was on target in the 1-0 victory over Union Berlin on Matchday 23.
Bielefeld: Ortega (c) - Brunner (de Medina 84'), Pieper, Nilsson, Andrade (Laursen 62') – Prietl, Schöpf - Wimmer (Okugawa 70'), Krüger (Lasme 84'), Hack – Serra (Klos 62')
Unused subs: Kapino, Ramos, Castro, Kunze
Coach: Frank Kramer
Stuttgart: Müller - Stenzel, Mavropanos, Anton, Ito - Endo (c), Karazor, Führich (Mangala 70') - Tomas, Kalajdzic, Marmoush (Tibidi 78')
Unused subs: Bredlow, Coulibaly, Millot, Thommy, Massimo, Beyaz, Bazzoli
Out: Ahamada (toe), Didavi (Achilles), Egloff (back), Förster (not included), Nartey (knee), Sankoh (knee), Schock (knee), Silas (shoulder), Sosa (groin)
Coach: Pellegrino Matarazzo
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