Konstantinos Mavropanos struck a last-gasp winner as a steely VfB Stuttgart overcame relegation rivals Hertha Berlin in a thrilling 2-1 victory at the Mercedes-Benz Arena.
VfB Stuttgart 2-1 Hertha Berlin
Goals: 1-0 Guirassy 3’ (assist: Tomas), 1-1 Lukebakio 19’ (assist: Kenny), 2-1 Mavropanos 90'+7 (assist: Sosa)
With both teams looking to make amends for disappointing defeats last time out, it was little surprise that Stuttgart and Hertha started their wintery affair in an entirely frenzied manner. Right from the off, a failed Stuttgart kick-off routine gifted Dodi Lukebakio a direct run at the tense home defence, before his tame pass stunted a seemingly promising attack. Before anyone could even blink, Stuttgart took the lead as Tiago Tomas’ precise through-ball played in Serhou Guirassy, who dispatched past the onlooking Oliver Christensen with just three minutes on the clock. Silas had a golden opportunity to double the hosts’ lead, but was sent a cross-shot wide. Regrettably for Silas, Hertha swiftly restored parity moments later, as Lukebakio coolly volleyed in Jonjoe Kenny’s faultless cross, for his seventh Bundesliga goal of the campaign.
The second half began in a slightly more reserved fashion, though it continued to ebb and flow with chances aplenty. Intricate link-up play on the edge of the box saw Borna Sosa race in on goal and test Christensen. It took until after the hour mark before Hertha could muster up another opportunity of their own, with Florian Müller parrying from Ivan Sunjic. In the immediate aftermath, Hertha midfielder Lucas Tousart had an awkward shot cleared off the line by the ever-present Mavropanos, before Japanese midfielder Wataru Endo was momentarily knocked unconscious after clashing heads with Sunjic, bringing about an imminent and lengthy pause. Remarkably, though, there was to be a winner. In the 97th minute, Mavropanos found himself on the end of Sosa’s accurate corner, before reeling away to celebrate a win that takes Stuttgart out of the bottom three at Hertha's expense.
- Mavropanos scored his second goal of the season.
- Stuttgart head coach Michael Wimmer is yet to lose a home match in charge of Stuttgart, winning four of his six competitive games at the Mercedes-Benz Arena.
- VfB won a Bundesliga game on a Tuesday for the first time in five. Hertha have not won on a Tuesday in seven.
- Stuttgart won their fifth home game in a row in all competitions – the last time they did this as a top-flight club was in 2012.
- Lukebakio is among the Bundesliga's top five scorers this season.
- Herha have not won on the road since the 4 September, when the club defeated Augsburg 2-0.
Stuttgart: Müller - Mavropanos, Anton, Ito, Sosa – Tomas (Vagnoman 73’), Endo (c) (Karazor 82’), Ahamada, Egloff (Millot 64’) - Silas (Pfeiffer 73’), Guirassy
Unused subs: Bredlow, Coulibaly, Stenzel, Zagadou, Nartey
Out: Führich (muscular)
Coach: Michael Wimmer
Hertha: Christensen - Kenny, Rogel, Kempf, Plattenhardt (c) - Tousart, Serdar (Sunjic 61’), Richter (Ejuke 61’), Boetius – Lukebakio, Selke (Kanga 61‘)
Unused subs: Ernst, Pekarik, Uremovic, Maolida, Mittestädt, Prince-Boateng
Out: Dardai (shin), Jarstein (not considered), Jovetic (hip), Lee (ill), Ngankam (thigh), Nsona (cruciate ligament), Gechter (fitness)
Coach: Sandro Schwarz
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