Stuttgart - VfB Stuttgart recorded their second Bundesliga win on the bounce with a hard-earned 2-1 victory over Eintracht Frankfurt at the Mercedes-Benz-Arena on Sunday.
Vedad Ibisevic netted the winner late on after Alexander Meier had struck out of the blue to cancel out Christian Gentner's sixth-minute opener, meaning Frankfurt relinquish second place in the table to FC Schalke 04 as Stuttgart climb to ninth
Off the back of his side’s 3-1 win over Hannover 96 last time out, Eintracht coach Armin Veh made one change for the trip south, with Martin Lanig replacing the injured Pirmin Schwegler. The visitors certainly could have done with their talismanic skipper's services early on, as a fired-up Stuttgart took the lead just six minutes in. Ibrahima Traore was given far too much space to pick his pass and, after the ball was only half cleared, Gentner slammed past visiting goalkeeper Kevin Trapp.
Eintracht were rattled, but Stuttgart refused to let the Eagles' tough-tackling approach get in their way, with the link-up play of Gotoku Sakai and Martin Harnik showing plenty of promise for Bruno Labbadia's side. Even so, it was a space left vacant by the forward-thinking Sakai that presented Frankfurt with their first opening as stand-in captain Alexander Meier headed over from Bastian Oczipka.
An uncharacteristically disorganised Eintracht back four then breathed a huge sigh of relief when the linesman’s flag went up to deny Harnik, who was looking more than capable of making something happen every time he ventured into the final third. Indeed, the animated Austrian once more had the ball in the net shortly before half time, only to see his latest attempt again chalked off for offside.
With the Eagles unable to make any real in-roads, Veh made the surprise half-time move of replacing Takashi Inui with Karim Matmour. The change failed to settle the Eintracht ship, though, and instead it was Stuttgart's Harnik asking all the questions, curling a wicked effort onto the foot of the post. A mazy Traore run triggered further panic in the Eagles' ranks, before Stefan Aigner served up a rare moment of cheer for the travelling fans with a rising strike expertly palmed over by Sven Ulreich.
There was a definite case of 'anything you can do, I can do better' moments later, as Eintracht's No1 pulled off a stunning reaction save to deny Serdar Tasci's fierce pot-shot, raising the bar set by his Stuttgart counterpart just minutes earlier. That proved just the tonic for the visitors who, despite having created next to nothing for much of the contest, drew level in the 67th minute as Meier bent a stunning 20-yard strike out of nowhere into the top corner.
The game opened up somewhat in the final ten minutes, with the introduction of Shinji Okasaki reigniting the Stuttgart flame. The Japanese international teed up Ibisevic, but his effort was narrowly ruled out for offside. The linesman and his flag couldn't spare Eintracht a fourth time, though, as Ibisevic rose to guide home Harnik's pin-point cross, the Bosnian's fifth goal of the season securing the points for Stuttgart.
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