Two goals from Robbie Kruse set Norbert Meier’s men on their way to victory with Christian Gentner’s goal giving Stuttgart a ray of hope which was snatched from them again when Oliver Fink completed the victory in the 76th minute.
Kruse at the double
Fortuna appeared keen to bounce back after losing their first two matches of 2013 and they started brightly, with Robert Tesche striking the inside of the post only for the ball to roll agonisingly along, but not over, the goalline. They made the breakthrough two minutes later though, as Tesche set up Kruse, who beat the offside trap and Sven Ulreich.
Fabian Giefer was not having such a busy afternoon in the Fortuna goal, but had to remain alert to prevent Gentner from sneaking an equaliser in the 26th minute. It was a rare Stuttgart attack with Fortuna probing more frequently, and getting their reward in the form of a second goal from Kruse shortly before the break. Ken Ilsö sent the Australian through with an inch-perfect pass, and the nippy midfielder made no mistake with only Ulreich to beat, sending the Stuttgart goalkeeper the wrong way.
Federico Macheda was brought on to make his Stuttgart debut at the start of the second half, while Ibrahima Traore was also introduced by Bruno Labbadia, who was clearly not happy with what he had seen in the opening 45 minutes. Traore made the most of the opportunity by providing the assist for Gentner to bring the Swabians back into the game on the hour mark.
His cross from the left was met by the unmarked midfielder at the far post, as he reduced the arrears on the volley. Shinji Okazaki was Labbadia's final throw of the dice, but within five minutes of his introduction, they were 3-1 down, Fink completing the scoring with a distance shot which Ulreich failed to keep out, as Fortuna wrapped up the win.
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