bundesliga

VfB Stuttgart lose Mario Gomez to red and squander two points on Benjamin Pavard's return against Freiburg

VfB Stuttgart welcomed Benjamin Pavard back after injury, but they lost Mario Gomez to a red card and threw away victory in the dying seconds to draw 2-2 with local rivals Freiburg.

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Stuttgart 2-2 Freiburg

Goals: 0-1 Haberer (4'), 1-1 Insua (75'), 2-1 Didavi (83'), 2-2 Niederlechner (90+4')
Red card: Gomez (89')

Latecomers to this Baden-Württemberg derby will have missed the news that Pavard was back for his first outing of 2019, and a good early chance for the hosts followed by the opening goal from the guests. Nils Petersen – usually on the end of a fine delivery into the area – provided the chance for Janik Haberer to fire in his first goal of the season before all the seats in the Mercedes-Benz-Arena had been taken. Once full, the home fans tried to spur their team on and almost saw their efforts rewarded when Alexander Esswein brought a fine save out of Alexander Schwolow.

It was no surprise to see Gomez come on for Stuttgart at the start of the second half, with his record reading 12 goals in 12 games against the Black Forest club, including braces in each of his last two meetings. He immediately raised the goalscoring threat, with chances falling at both ends. Nicolas Gonzalez wasted Stuttgart's and he was becoming increasingly involved in the action as coach Markus Weinzierl ordered his troops forward. Their pressure paid off when, with 15 minutes to go, Emiliano Insua brought them level, powering his shot past Schwolow from Gonzalez's assist. The fans upped the volume again, and Gonzalez was instrumental again in setting up Daniel Didavi for what seemed like the winner. Two yellow cards in just four minutes saw Gomez's day end early, though, and worse was to follow as Florian Niederlechner levelled at the death.

It was a frustrating afternoon for Mario Gomez (l.) who saw red as Stuttgart were held to a 2-2 draw by Freiburg. - imago/Eibner

Match stats

  • VfB are this season’s joint-lowest Bundesliga scorers (17 goals).
  • Freiburg scored their sixth goal within the first 15 minutes of a game this season. Only RB Leipzig (nine) have more.
  • Haberer's first Bundesliga goal of the season came from Petersen's first assist.
  • Freiburg's 21-year-old defender Keven Schlotterbeck made his debut after being named in the squad for only the first time.
  • Last weekend, Gomez was an unused substitute for the first time since returning to boyhood club Stuttgart from Wolfsburg in winter 2017. He has scored a third of Die Schwaben’s Bundesliga goals in 2018/19.
  • Freiburg have won on only two of their last 18 trips to Stuttgart, and are winless in their last nine meetings in all competitions against their south-west rivals.

Line-ups

Stuttgart: Zieler – Pavard, Kabak, Kempf, Insua - Esswein (Beck 88'), Gentner (c) (Didavi 58'), Ascacibar, Zuber – Donis (Gomez 46'), Gonzalez
Unused subs: Grahl, Castro, Thommy, Badstuber
Out: Maffeo (fitness), Meyer (knee)
Coach: Markus Weinzierl

Freiburg: Schwolow – Gulde (Schlotterbeck 38'), Heintz (Niederlechner 84'), Lienhart – Kübler, Haberer, Koch, Günter – Höler (Gondorf 79'), Petersen (c), Grifo
Unused subs: Flekken, Waldschmidt, Terrazzino, Stenzel
Out: Borrello (knee), Höfler (knee), Kath (groin), Kleindienst (knee), Sallai (adductor)
Coach: Christian Streich

Watch: Emiliano Insua happy to score, but "disappointed" not to win