Stuttgart leave relegation zone as Borna-gain Sosa helps them beat Cologne
VfB Stuttgart picked up a much-needed and morale-boosting 3-0 win over Cologne to move out of the relegation places with Gil Dias, Borna Sosa and Tanguy Coulibaly delighting the Mercedes-Benz Arena faithful.
Stuttgart 3-0 Cologne
Goals: 1-0 Dias 10’ (assist: Haraguchi), 2-0 Sosa (52’), 3-0 Coulibaly (74')
Still seeking a first win under Bruno Labbadia, Stuttgart stepped out in a sold-out Mercedes-Benz Arena knowing they are running out of opportunities to haul themselves out of danger. Labbadia brought Silas back into his starting XI and shifted Dias into a more central position, and the move paid early dividends. Dias exchanged passes with Genki Haraguchi before placing a shot in off the inside of the left-hand post. Silas almost added a second for the hosts midway through the first half, but he hit a low shot just wide of the far post from the edge of the area, and Dias shortly after took aim from a similar position, but saw his attempt tipped over the crossbar by Marvin Schwäbe. Cologne, for their part, mustered seven attempts at the Stuttgart goal, although none threatened Fabien Bredlow as the hosts pocketed a deserved half-time lead.
Steffen Baumgart made two changes at half-time and his team did more attacking in the opening five minutes than they had in the entire first half, although it was a Haraguchi shot on the turn which ensured Schwäbe was the first of the goalkeepers called into action. There was nothing he could to do get anywhere near Sosa’s free-kick, which caressed the underside of the crossbar on its way to doubling Stuttgart’s lead. It was only the Croatian’s second Bundesliga goal in his 81st game, but it could hardly have come at a better time for his team as they boosted their hopes of victory. Two more throws of the dice by Baumgart sought to change that, but Stuttgart continued to look the more likely to add the game’s third goal, and they did through a substitute of their own. Coulibaly used his first two touches of the game well to compose himself and send a deflected shot past Schwäbe, completing a comfortable win for the Swabians, who can breathe a little easier after leaving the relegation zone.
- Dias scored his first Bundesliga goal following his summer arrival at Stuttgart. His first goal in German football came in the DFB Cup win over Paderborn.
- He became the 271st different Stuttgart player to score in the Bundesliga – only Frankfurt (274) and Schalke (276) have more different scorers.
- Haraguchi recorded his first goal involvement of the season, and first as a Stuttgart player.
- Cologne conceded for the first time in four games and both fell behind in a game and lost for the first time in 2023.
- Stuttgart have taken the lead in all four games under Labbadia, though they had failed to win any of their previous three (D2, L1).
- This was the Swabians' first win of 2023.
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Stuttgart: Bredlow - Anton (Stenzel 81'), Mavropanos, Ito, Sosa - Haraguchi (Millot 80'), Karazor, Endo (c) – Dias (Coulibaly 73'), Silas, Führich (Vagnoman 81')
Unused subs: Müller, Perea, Pfeiffer, Zagadou, Nartey
Out: Guirassy (adductor), Tomas (stomach)
Coach: Bruno Labbadia
Cologne: Schwäbe - Schmitz (Schindler 64'), Soldo, Chabot, Hector (c) - Skhiri, Martel (Ljubicic 46') - Maina (Selke 75'), Huseinbasic (Adamyan 46'), Kainz (Thielmann 64') – Tigges
Unused subs: Horn, Bakatukanda, Lemperle, Olesen
Out: Andersson (knee), Dietz (cruciate ligament), Hübers (suspended), Kilian (muscular), Limnios (cruciate ligament), Pedersen (muscular), Uth (pelvis)
Coach: Steffen Baumgart
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