bundesliga

Konstantinos Mavropanos celebrates birthday with goal as VfB Stuttgart win in Wolfsburg

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Konstantinos Mavropanos celebrated his 24th birthday in style with his fourth goal of the season helping VfB Stuttgart on their way to a 2-0 win at Wolfsburg, with Philipp Förster scoring for a second week running.

Wolfsburg 0-2 Stuttgart
Goals: 0-1 Mavroponos 25' (assist: Marmoush), 0-2 Förster 63' (assist: Coulibaly)

Wolfsburg lost Aster Vranckx to injury after only 21 minutes, and things got even worse for the hosts moments later when birthday boy Mavropanos put the guests in front with a blistering, rising effort from long range that thundered into the net, leaving Koen Casteels no chance. Stuttgart coach Pellegrino Matarazzo was also forced into an early change when Roberto Massimo limped out, to be replaced by Pascal Stenzel straight after the opening goal. Maximilian Arnold then tested Florian Müller in the Stuttgart goal for the first time, but the Stuttgart custodian palmed his direct free-kick away to ensure his team held onto their lead going into the break.

The visitors doubled their advantage when Tanguy Coulibaly cut the ball back and Förster showed the greatest determination among a pack of Wolves to fire past Casteels from close range. It sparked Wolfsburg into action and Lukas Nmecha missed a gilt-edged opportunity to bring them back into the game midway through the second half when he blazed a rebound over after a shot from his brother Felix Nmecha was parried out to his feet. Stuttgart tightened things up at the back as Wolfsburg started to mount a threat, but the next big chance fell their way when Arnold handled the ball inside the area. Omar Marmoush stepped up to the spot, but his Panenka-style penalty hit the crossbar and Wataru Endo sent the rebound over. It did not prove to be a costly miss, though, as Stuttgart held on for a crucial win which lifted them back out of the relegation play-off berth.

Match stats

  • The Wolves were unbeaten in their previous 13 home league matches against Stuttgart (W11, D2), dating all the way back to December 2005; this was also Stuttgart's first away win of the season (D3, L3).
  • With four goals, Mavropanos is Stuttgart's top scorer this season.
  • Mavropanos is also the top-scoring defender in the Bundesliga on four goals, level with Freiburg's Philipp Lienhart.
  • Förster scored in back-to-back Bundesliga matches for the first time in his career.
  • Florian Kohfeldt became the first Wolfsburg coach since promotion to the Bundesliga in 1997 to suffer five straight defeats in all competitions.

Watch: Weghorst: “We have to figure out a new game plan”

Line-ups

Wolfsburg: Casteels (c) – Mbabu (Baku 66'), Lacroix, Bornauw, Otavio (Roussillon 52') – Vranckx (Guilavogui 21'), Arnold - Waldschmidt (F. Nmecha 66'), L. Nmecha, Steffen (Lukebakio 66') - Weghorst
Unused subs:
Pervan, Brooks, Gerhardt, Ginczek
Out:
Mehmedi (muscular), Schlager (knee), William (knee)
Coach:
Florian Kohfeldt

Stuttgart: Müller – Mavropanos, Anton, Ito – Karazor - Massimo (Stenzel 26'), Endo (c), Mangala, Coulibaly (Führich 80')– Förster (Kempf 74'), Marmoush (Silas 80')
Unused subs:
Schock, Al Ghaddioui, Faghir, Klimowicz, Tibidi
Out:
Bredlow (thigh), Führich (not included), Kalajdzic (shoulder), Millot (knee), Nartey (knee), Sankoh (knee), Sosa (back), Thommy (pelvis)
Coach:
Pellegrino Matarazzo