VfB Stuttgart kicked off the 2021/22 Bundesliga campaign in style with a thumping 5-1 win at home to promoted Greuther Fürth, with defender Marc-Oliver Kempf scoring a brace and Borna Sosa providing a hat-trick of assists.
VfB Stuttgart 5-1 Greuther Fürth
Goals: 1-0 Endo (30’), 2-0 Klement (36’), 3-0 Kempf (55’), 4-0 Al Ghaddioui (61’), 5-0 Kempf (76’), 5-1 Leweling (90'+3)
Stuttgart thought they had an early lead when Mateo Klimowicz tucked home inside seven minutes, but the goal didn’t stand with provider Roberto Massimo offside in the build-up. However, it was Fürth who posed the greater threat to start with. Captain Branimir Hrgota twice fired off warning shots, before Luca Itter had another crack inside the opening 15 minutes. VfB grew into the game, though, and new club captain Wataru Endo had them ahead on the half-hour mark. Philipp Förster exchanged a quick one-two with Hamadi Al Ghaddioui before slipping in the Japan international, who coolly lifted the ball over Sascha Burchert. The Greuther goalkeeper was again called upon to deny a goal-bound Al Ghaddioui header from a trademark Sosa cross. The ball came back, though, with Klimowicz stabbing it through for Philipp Klement – who had come on in the seventh minute for the injured Atakan Karazor – to fire across Burchert and give Pellegrino Matarazzo’s side a deserved 2-0 lead by the break.
Stuttgart kept up the pressure in the second half and added a third only 10 minutes after the restart when Sosa delivered a short corner for Kempf to power home with his head from close range. It was four on the hour mark when 30-year-old Al Ghaddioui scored his first Bundesliga goal – and shed a tear – by also heading in a Sosa cross from the left flank. VfB had only scored more than two goals at home once last season, so there was plenty for the returning fans to celebrate at the Mercedes-Benz Arena. There was, though, another injury setback when youngster Mohamed Sankoh had to be stretchered off only minutes after coming on when he got his foot caught in the turf. It was all smiles again shortly after, however, when another Sosa corner ensured he had a hat-trick of assists and Kempf a brace as the centre-back again found space to head home in the box. Fürth did get a late consolation when substitute Jamie Leweling rounded Florian Müller in added time to score on his Bundesliga debut.
Watch: "If we're this successful when my family watches, they're always invited!" - Matarazzo
- Sosa provided three assists in a Bundesliga game for the first time.
- Endo scored in his first game as Stuttgart club captain. He also got a goal in his last league game for them, on Matchday 33 of last season at Borussia Mönchengladbach.
- Klement scored only his second competitive goal for Stuttgart since joining in 2019. His first game against Schalke last season.
- Six of Kempf’s eight Bundesliga goals have now come from set pieces and been headers. This was his first brace in the top flight.
- Al Ghaddioui’s first Bundesliga goal came on his first start in the league. His previous six appearances had all been from the bench and seen him muster up just one shot.
- This was the first time since a 3-0 win over Schalke in 2011 that Stuttgart started a Bundesliga season with a win. They had lost each of the last four.
Watch: "Cool to have fans back but Sankoh injury is a negative" - Sven Mislintat
Stuttgart: Müller - Mavropanos, Anton, Kempf - Massimo, Endo (c), Karazor (Klement 9’), Sosa - Förster, Klimowicz (Didavi 65’) - Al Ghaddioui (Sankoh 65’) (Thommy 69’)
Unused subs: Bredlow, Mola, Stenzel, Churlinov, Ito
Out: Ahamada (ankle), Cisse (foot), Coulibaly (not included), Egloff (foot), Führich (collarbone), Kalajdzic (not included), Mangala (thigh), Nartey (not included) Silas (unavailable)
Coach: Pellegrino Matarazzo
Fürth: Burchert - Jung, Bauer, Hoogma – Meyerhöfer, Seguin, Seufert (Sarpei 59’), Itter – Green (Fein 70’) – Nielsen (Abiama 59’), Hrgota (c) (Leweling 85’)
Unused subs: Funk, Schaffran, Barry, Tillman
Out: Asta (thigh), Christiansen (match fitness), Kehr (groin), Ngankam (knee)
Coach: Stefan Leitl