Second-half goals from captain Fabian Klos and Ritsu Doan secured Bundesliga survival for Arminia Bielefeld in a 2-0 win over VfB Stuttgart.
The first half between was a back-and-forth affair, with both teams going close to snatching the lead. Roberto Massimo was the danger man for Stuttgart, firing an early volley over the bar, and posing a constant threat down the right flank. At the other end, Doan thought he had given Bielefeld the lead with a fierce shot towards the top corner, only to see Atakan Karazor just get his head to the ball and divert it onto the post. With half an hour played, Stuttgart looked to have broken the deadlock, only for the goal to be ruled out for offside. At the end of the half, it was as you were, with both teams knowing that the goals were there for the taking.
After the break, proceedings resumed as they had left off. Bielefeld continued to ask questions of their opponents and got a response they wanted after the hour mark. Masaya Okugawa drove into the penalty area and was hauled down by substitute Naouirou Ahamada. The referee wasted no time in pointing to the spot, allowing Klos to step up and slot the ball into the bottom corner to give Bielefeld a precious lead. And with that lead came a boost in confidence. Within six minutes, Arminia had a second. Andreas Voglsammer laid the ball off into the path of Doan, who nimbly skipped past the Stuttgart defence and placed a low shot just out of Gregor Kobel’s reach and into the net. The visitors held their nerve and saw out the remaining twenty minutes before erupting in wild celebration at having secured a second season of Bundesliga football.
- Kalajdzic scored 11 of his 16 Bundesliga goals since the turn of the year.
- Sosa was the second best provider among Bundesliga defenders this term, after Borussia Dortmund's Raphael Guerreiro.
- Stuttgart have not picked up three top-flight wins in a row since February-March 2018.
- With five goals and two assists apiece, Ritsu Doan and Fabian Klos hand a hand in 50 percent of Arminia's 26 strikes this season. Only Schalke netted fewer (25).
- Arminia have claimed nine points from six away games under Kramer (W2, D3, L1).
- Bielefeld had previously won just once in 20 games in Stuttgart in all competitions - a 3-2 triumph in the 1981/82 Bundesliga season - drawing seven and losing 12.
Watch: Doan: "I'm happy to have helped the team stay up"
Stuttgart: Kobel - Stenzel, Anton, Kempf (Kaminski 79') - Massimo (Churlinov 73'), Karazor, Klement (Ahamada 59'), Sosa - Förster (Didavi 59'), Castro (c) (Al Ghaddioui 79') - Kalajdzic
Unused subs: Bredlow, Mola, Thommy, Sankoh
Out: Cisse (knee), Coulibaly (knee), Endo (suspended), Egloff (not included), Gonzalez (not included), Klimowicz (groin), Mangala (thigh), Mavropanos (muscular), Silas (knee)
Coach: Pellegrino Matarazzo
Bielefeld: Ortega - Brunner, Pieper, Nilsson, Laursen (de Medina 56') - Okugawa, Prietl, Maier - Doan (72'), Klos (c) (66'), Voglsammer (Schipplock 80')
Unused subs: Linner, van der Hoorn, Gebauer, Kunze, Soukou, Vlap, Hartel
Out: Lucoqui (suspended)
Coach: Frank Kramer
Ricardo Pepi primed for breakout season
If the trajectory of his compatriots in the Bundesliga is anything to go by, the USMNT forward could be set for a watershed 2022/23 campaign.
Official Bundesliga transfer centre: Summer 2022
All the official ins and outs at your favourite Bundesliga club...
Official Bundesliga 2 transfer centre: Summer 2022
Every move in Germany's second division during the summer window...