Nico Gonzalez scored one and made another as VfB Stuttgart returned to winning ways with a 4-1 victory at Augsburg on Sunday.
Stuttgart were on a two-game losing streak without scoring at kick-off, but given their bold, attack-minded approach under Pellegrino Matarazzo this season, it was only a matter of time before they came good again. They laid down an early marker here, as Mateo Klimowicz had a volley blocked inside the first minute after good work from Gonzalez. Their pressure paid off a short while later when Klimowicz was brought down in the penalty area by Reece Oxford, allowing Gonzalez to put Stuttgart ahead from the spot. Augsburg, to their credit, responded well and Daniel Caligiuri rattled the crossbar with a brilliant 30-yard free-kick, before Ruben Vargas glanced a header just wide from a corner. That lack of precision was ruthlessly punished by Stuttgart though, as Silas Wamangituka finished off a sweeping counter-attack involving Marc-Oliver Kempf and Borna Sosa to give Matarazzo's charges a deserved lead at the interval.
Stuttgart had looked comfortable until that point, but were given a rude awakening early in the second half when Marco Richter reduced the deficit within 30 seconds of the restart, deftly flicking in from Vargas' cut-back. Augsburg were unable to capitalise on their momentum though, as Stuttgart quickly regrouped and settled back into their rhythm. Rafal Gikiewicz made two superb saves within seconds of each other, first from Gonzalez's acrobatic overhead kick before keeping out Kempf's thumping header from the ensuing corner, but there was nothing he could do moments later as Gonzalo Castro volleyed in from close range Gonzalez's floated cross. Matters went from bad to worse for Augsburg in the closing stages when Richter was sent off for a second bookable offence. Stuttgart rubbed salt into the wound late on when substitute Daniel Didavi tapped in from Waldemar Anton's cross at the back post, sealing a fifth league win of the season for Matarazzo's men.
- Stuttgart were awarded their fifth penalty of the season here; Augsburg are yet to be given one in 2020/21.
- Gonzalez has scored three of those spot-kicks, giving him a perfect penalty record at VfB of eight from eight.
- Wamangituka, who has incidentally scored Stuttgart's two other penalties this term, now has eight goals this season, making him the most prolific midfielder in the league alongside Gladbach's Lars Stindl.
- Wamangituka's goal was the fifth time in the current campaign that Stuttgart have scored from a counter-attack - one of the best records in the Bundesliga.
- Augsburg have scored 12 of their 17 Bundesliga goals in the second half of their matches (70 per cent).
- Richter netted his second goal of the season, and third in three games against Stuttgart.
Watch: Matarazzo on Stuttgart's league-best away form this season
Augsburg: Gikiewicz - Oxford, Khedira (Gregoritsch 46'), Uduokhai (c) - Caligiuri, Strobl, Gruezo (Hahn 66'), Iago (Pedersen 66') - Richter, Vargas (Gumny 66') - Niederlechner (Sarenren Bazee 86')
Unused subs: Koubek, Suchy, Civeja, Finnbogason
Out: Gouweleeuw (suspended), Framberger (muscular), Jensen (ankle), Moravek (thigh)
Coach: Heiko Herrlich
Stuttgart: Kobel - Stenzel, Anton, Kempf - Silas (Kalajdzic 86'), Endo (Klement 90'), Mangala, Sosa - Castro (c) (Förster 77'), Klimowicz (Didavi 77') - Gonzalez (Coulibaly 86')
Unused subs: Bredlow, Mavropanos, Karazor, Churlinov
Out: Al Ghaddioui (pelvis), Mola (hip), Thommy (elbow)
Coach: Pellegrino Matarazzo