A wonderful Silas Wamangituka solo effort put the gloss on VfB Stuttgart's first home win of the season as they saw off Mainz 2-0 on Friday night, with Sasa Kalajdzic grabbing his side's other goal.
Having stunned Leipzig last time out, Mainz went in search of just a third win of the season at Stuttgart and they started brightly. The hosts had nearly all of the ball in the early running but it was Mainz that looked the more dangerous when they won back possession, as the 05ers hassled with an intensity that the home side at times found difficult to match. But this is a Stuttgart side that has caught the eye on their return to the Bundesliga and as Pellegrino Matarazzo's men grew into the game, as did their dominance. With that said, the Mainz defence held firm and managed to keep VfB danger-men Nicolas Gonzalez and Silas at arm's length, with Moussa Niakhate and Phillipp Mwene particularly impressive in ding-dong battles with Silas. Shortly before the half hour mark, both sides were forced into changes and the sight of Stuttgart skipper Gonzalo Castro being withdrawn through injury moments before Robin Quaison pulled up with problems of his own were worries for each bench. It would've been Mainz that were the happiest of the two to go into the break goalless, with no clear-cut chances of note at either end.
That all changed just 10 minutes into the second half, however, as Borna Sosa's inch-perfect first-time cross from the left was headed home by Kalajdzic. Sosa's provision proved to be his last contribution of the match as he became the latest injured party to depart and Mainz were almost immediately level, but Karim Onisiwo's header thumped off the bar and to safety on the hour mark. After a tightly contested first half, the game began to open up and Silas punished Mainz with a devastating counter-attack to make it 2-0 as the away team pushed for an equaliser. Silas picked the ball up on the edge of his own box, dancing beyond Mainz challenges as he carried the ball the length of the pitch before lashing in a superb 11th goal of the season for the 21-year-old. Stuttgart were able to see out the remainder of the match without alarm to consolidate their place in 10th, while Mainz remain five points off Cologne in the Relegation Playoff Place - a gap that could be stretched to eight points when the Billy Goats take on Bielefeld this weekend.
- Castro made his 400th Bundesliga appearance. The former Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia Dortmund midfielder became the third active player to do so after Manuel Neuer and former VfB captain Christian Gentner.
- Kalajdzic's goal was his sixth in the Bundesliga this season, with five of those strikes coming at home.
- Gonzalez and Wamangituka have been involved in 17 of Stuttgart's 35 goals so far this season.
- Silas is the first Stuttgart player to score 11 goals after the first 19 games of a Bundesliga season since Fredi Bobic, 24 years ago in the 1996/97 season.
- This was Stuttgart's first home win of the season at the ninth attempt (W1, D5, L3).
- Mainz's 3-1 win at Freiburg on Matchday 8 was their last victory on the road, while they have collected three points on just one occasion - either home or away - since then (P10, W1, D3, L6).
Watch: Sasa Kalajdzic: "It's an amazing feeling to win at home"
Stuttgart: Kobel - Mavropanos (Karazor 84'), Anton, Kempf - Silas (Coulibaly 84'), Mangala, Endo, Sosa (Massimo 58') - Castro (c) (Förster 26'), Gonzalez - Kalajdzic
Unused subs: Bredlow, Stenzel, Didavi, Thommy, Klimowicz
Out: Al Ghaddioui (pelvis), Egloff (ankle), Mola (hip)
Coach: Pellegrino Matarazzo
Mainz: Zentner - St. Juste, Bell (Boetius 75'), Niakhate - da Costa, Fernandes (Öztunali 62'), Kohr, Mwene - Latza (c) (Stöger 62') - Onisiwo (Szalai 75'), Quaison (Burkardt 27')
Unused subs: Dahmen, Kilian, Hack, Tauer
Out: Barreiro (ear), Brosinski (knee), Kunde (knee)
Coach: Bo Svensson