Sasa Kalajdzic scored yet another headed goal as VfB Stuttgart beat Augsburg 2-1 on Friday night to kick off Matchday 32.
Stuttgart started with good intent as Roberto Massimo tested Rafal Gikiewicz before Daniel Didavi, captaining VfB for the first time in the Bundesliga in the absence of Gonzalo Castro, put the rebound wide. It wasn't long until Pellegrino Matarazzo's side had the lead, though, when Kalajdzic flicked on a Philipp Klement chip into the box for Philipp Förster to run onto and guide home with the inside of his right foot. Augsburg then grew into the game and carved out a number of chances. The best fell to Marco Richter after being played in by Ruben Vargas. He sidestepped a challenge before unleashing his shot from almost on the penalty spot, but Fabian Bredlow made a quality save low to his right. Making his first Bundesliga appearance since December 2018 (for Nuremberg), the stand-in Stuttgart goalkeeper produced further stops from Vargas and Richter again to keep the home side ahead at the break.
Bredlow was again called into action early in the second half, reacting well to dive and gather a ball that had bounced quickly off the chest of Reece Oxford from a free-kick into the box. There was nothing he could do when the equaliser finally came, though. Iago's deep cross from the left was headed back across goal by the arriving Richter, and Florian Niederlechner reacted well to adjust his head and flick it inside the post for his first goal since February. VfB substitute Erik Thommy forced a sharp save out of Gikiewicz as the hosts appeared to wake up again. And they retook the lead with a quarter of an hour remaining when Kalajdzic - in typical fashion - headed home from only a couple of yards out, drifting between centre-backs to meet Darko Churlinov's lofted ball from the right. Promoted Stuttgart remain in mid-table and will officially be in the top flight next season, but Augsburg continued their slide towards danger in Markus Weinzierl's first game since returning to the club in place of Heiko Herrlich.
- Förster got his third goal of this season and has scored two of Stuttgart's last three over the most recent four games.
- Augsburg trailed at the break having failed to score for the 12th time in 2020/21. They are still yet to win from that position.
- Niederlechner got his fourth goal of the campaign, with all coming in the Rückrunde.
- Kalajdzic scored his eighth headed goal of the season - a league high. Augsburg as a team have seven. Twelve of the Austrian's 15 this term have come in the second half of games.
- This is the first time a Weinzierl team has scored in his first Bundesliga game in charge, but he has still lost all four of his debuts with Augsburg, Schalke and Stuttgart.
- Augsburg have now lost five away games in a row, which equals their unwanted club record.
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Stuttgart: Bredlow – Mavropanos (Karazor 46'), Anton, Kempf - Massimo (Coulibaly 22') (Thommy 64'), Endo, Klement (Mack 85'), Sosa - Förster, Didavi (c) (Churlinov 64') - Kalajdzic
Unused subs: Grahl, Stenzel, Klimowicz, Al Ghaddioui
Out: Ahamada (suspended), Castro (unconfirmed), Egloff (not included), Gonzalez (not included), Mangala (thigh), Kaminski (not included), Kobel (unconfirmed), Silas (knee)
Coach: Pellegrino Matarazzo
Augsburg: Gikiewicz - Gumny, Oxford, Gouweleeuw (c), Iago (Pedersen 83') - Khedira, Moravek (Caligiuri 68') - Hahn (Gregoritsch 83'), Richter (Benes 76'), Vargas (Jensen 68') - Niederlechner
Unused subs: Koubek, Framberger, Sarenren Bazee, Strobl
Out: Finnbogason (knee), Uduokhai (ankle)
Coach: Markus Weinzierl
Watch: Matarazzo: "We have reached our goal already"