Jan Rosenthal took advantage of tired Stuttgart legs to give the hosts a deserved lead before second-half goals from Pavel Krmas and Max Kruse ensured Christian Streich's men remain unbeaten in their last four league outings.
End to end
With four goals in his last four games against Freiburg, Stuttgart midfielder Martin Harnik was putting himself about the place early on, directing the first corner of the afternoon over the crossbar from ten yards out. Three minutes later, Stuttgart were already showing signs of a UEFA Europa League hangover, affording Cedrick Makiadi a similarly presentable opportunity, which the midfielder nodded the wrong side of the post.
Streich’s charges were the more direct of the two sides, with a well-worked set-piece routine almost proving Stuttgart’s undoing in the eleventh minute. Kruse feigned to shoot, instead sliding in Daniel Caligiuri, who was promptly swarmed by a ruck of white shirts before he could get his shot away. Stuttgart conjured up a swift retort, but were unable to take advantage of Freiburg keeper Oliver Baumann’s panicked swipe at Harnik’s inviting cross.
Open and entertaining, the pattern of the game continued to flow from one end to the other as Freiburg took hold of the contest. Only Cristian Molinaro’s last-ditch intervention denied Jonathan Schmid before Julian Schuster forced a flying save from Stuttgart stopper Sven Ulreich. Zdravko Kuzmanovic’s post-tickling drive reminded Freiburg they wouldn’t have it all their own way, and the home side responded as Rosenthal threaded through the legs of William Kvist and into the bottom corner to make it 1-0.
Die Schwaben were unable to get to grips with Freiburg's purposeful approach, with Schmid and Rosenthal moving extremely well and combining to great effect through the middle. In contrast, Bruno Labbadia's side were finding most, albeit occasional, joy on the flanks with a pair of Shinji Okasaki crosses asking questions of a suspect Baumann, who was looking far from comfortable dealing with balls into the box.
Stuttgart should have been level immediately after the restart, but neither Okasaki nor Christian Gentner could apply the finishing touch to Molinaro's grass-cutting cross from the right. True to form, Freiburg were back on the offensive in no time at all as Schmid, Makiadi and Schuster warmed the palms of Ulreich within the space of six free-flowing minutes, before Molinaro followed suit at the other end with a rising volley which drew the very best out of Baumann.
Ulreich pulled off an even better save to keep out Rosenthal's glancing header with 25 minutes left to play, but he shot himself in the foot two minutes later as Krmas pounced on the goalkeeper's flapped clearance and swept the ball into the net for Freiburg's second of the afternoon. The home faithful were really enjoying themselves by this point, and it got even better for them when Kruse stole in ahead of Maza for the decisive third.
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