Sasa Kalajdzic bagged his 10th goal of the season as VfB Stuttgart got back to winning ways with a 1-0 victory over Cologne.
Cologne 0-1 Stuttgart
Goals: 0-1 Kalajdzic (49')
Both sides lined up with counter-attacking 3-4-3 formations, which made for a lively start at the RheinEnergieStadion. Stuttgart nearly scored with the first attack of the game but there was fractionally too much on Borna Sosa's ball across goal for Silas Wamangituka to poke home. Ondrej Duda then had a good chance at the other end, but he lashed his effort over the bar. Stuttgart's share of possession grew as the half wore on, though, and Gonzalo Castro thought he should have had a penalty past the half hour only to see referee Benjamin Cortus wave his claim away. Konstantinos Mavropanos then headed a corner off-target as the half-time whistle went with the deadlock intact.
Both sides were unchanged for the start of the second half, but the scoreboard was soon altered with Kalajdzic heading home a Sosa free-kick from the left. Billy Goats boss Markus Gisdol sent Dominik Drexler, a midfielder, on for defender Sava-Arangel Cestic just past the hour, with the fresh legs of Salih Özcan and Max Meyer following soon after, and the change in formation and personnel looked to be working when Meyer slipped Emannuel Dennis through for a chance which he sent wide. Özcan then crashed an effort against the crossbar. Ismail Jakobs was the next to try his luck from a tight angle but ultimately nothing came off and Stuttgart closed out the 1-0 win.
- Kalajdzic has scored five of his 10 Bundesliga goals in his last four outings.
- The tallest player in the Bundesliga at 6'6", the Austrian's five headed goals are a league high.
- Orel Mangala scored the fastest goal of the season in the reverse fixture, timed at 24 seconds. That match ended 1-1.
- Cologne have not beaten Stuttgart at home since October 2000 (D6, L5).
- Gisdol was previously a youth coach at Stuttgart. This was his first top-flight loss in seven games against his former employers with Hoffenheim and Hamburg (W4, D2, L1).
- The game ended with the teams sharing possession 50/50 - testament to Cologne's second-half surge!
Watch: Kalajdzic talks us through his on-field understanding with left-back Borna Sosa
Cologne: T. Horn (c) - Cestic (Drexler 61'), Mere, Czichos - Ehizibue (Meyer 69'), Skhiri, Rexhbecaj, Jakobs - Wolf, Duda (Özcan 69') - Dennis
Unused subs: Zieler, Schmitz, Katterbach, Limnios, J. Horn, Thielmann
Out: Andersson (knee), Bornauw (back), Hector (thigh), Kainz (knee)
Coach: Markus Gisdol
Stuttgart: Kobel - Mavropanos (Karazor 85'), Anton, Kempf - Silas (Stenzel 85'), Mangala, Endo, Sosa - Förster (Coulibaly 74'), Castro (c) (Thommy 67') - Kalajdzic (Klimowicz 75')
Unused subs: Bredlow, Didavi, Klement, Cisse
Out: Churlinov (broken nose), Egloff (ankle), Gonzalez (hamstring), Mola (hip)
Coach: Pellegrino Matarazzo