Ludwig Augustinsson could only divert a Borna Sosa cross into his own goal inside the final 10 minutes as VfB Stuttgart clinched all three points over a stubborn Werder Bremen on Sunday.
Both teams were positive from the off, but found it difficult to carve out opportunities of note in the absence of respective key men Silas Wamangituka and Josh Sargent. They did start to find their rhythm at the midway point of the first half, though, as first Augustinsson flashed a fine volley narrowly wide of the post at one end and then Philipp Förster drew an excellent save from Jiri Pavlenka moments later at the other. Shortly before the break, Niclas Füllkrug’s superb control so nearly created the presentable chance the two sides had been craving but, opting not to shoot, his squared pass was well blocked to deny Milot Rashica a tap-in.
Stuttgart and Bremen had each defended superbly to keep the other at bay in the first half, but were in need of some more imagination around both boxes if either were to break the deadlock in the second 45. Füllkrug so nearly provided that spark for the visitors just under an hour in, but he could only flash over the bar from Rashica's cutback that more threateningly returned the favour from the opening period. Mateo Klimowicz responded by racing upfield and drawing another save from Pavlenka as things started to open up. Entering the final 10 minutes, the home team finally found a way through as Sosa's cross from the left was diverted beyond Pavlenka by the unfortunate face of Augustinsson. That would prove the decisive moment in the game as Stuttgart remained within four points of a UEFA Europa League spot and Werder were left seven points clear of the relegation places.
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- Die Schwaben are unbeaten in six home games (W3, D3) and are on a three-game winning run at the Mercedes-Benz-Arena for the first time this season.
- Since sharing a 0-0 draw in February 2006, Stuttgart have failed to score only once against Werder in 13 Bundesliga home meetings and have scored 35 goals across those matches - more than they've managed against any other team during that period.
- Stuttgart have now gone five games without losing to Bremen (W4, D1), which is more than in the preceding 16 top-flight meetings combined (three).
- Maximilian Eggestein played his 150th Bundesliga game, with only Jonny Otten (24 years, 44 days) reaching the milestone at a younger age than Eggestein (24 years, 117 days old) for the club.
- Augustinsson's own goal was the first of his career in the Bundesliga in his 94th game.
- It was, however, Bremen's third own goal of the season, with only Schalke (five) putting more goals into their own net across the entire division.
Stuttgart: Kobel - Mavropanos, Anton, Kempf - Coulibaly (Stenzel 89'), Endo, Castro (c) (Karazor 86'), Sosa - Förster (Didavi, 78'), Klimowicz (Churlinov 78') - Kalajdzic
Unused subs: Bredlow, Thommy, Klement, Cisse, Ahamada
Out: Al Ghaddioui (ankle), Egloff (ankle), Gonzalez (thigh), Mangala (thigh), Mola (hip), Silas (knee)
Coach: Pellegrino Matarazzo
Bremen: Pavlenka - Groß (Dinkci 84'), Toprak, Friedl - Gebre Selassie (c), Eggestein, Möhwald, Augustinsson - Schmid (Osako 73'), Rashica - Füllkrug (Selke 73')
Unused subs: Zetterer, Bittencourt, Agu, Moisander, Erras, Mbom
Out: Plogmann (knee), Sargent (suspended), Veljkovic (groin), Woltemade (knee)
Coach: Florian Kohfeldt