Stuttgart - Stuttgart's terrible start to the New Year continued as they were humbled 4-1 by a vibrant Werder Bremen side.
Mehmet Ekici was the standout player for bremen, scoring twice for Thomas Schaaf's men. Aaron Hunt and Kevin de Bruyne also found the net, while Ibrahima Traore was on target for the home side.
Bruno Labbadia's Stuttgart had rung in 2013 with three straight league defeats, but they began the game determined to put an end to that unwanted run. Japanese international Hiroki Sakai looped an effort over the crossbar within two minutes, before Bremen's Florian Mielitz smartly held a shot from Traore.
Bremen had a spring in their step after last week's win over Hannover 96, though, and they soon established a foothold on the game. The pace of Eljero Elia was a real weapon on the counter and the Dutch winger almost set up the opening goal when de Bruyne sidefooted his cross onto the post. However, the hosts luck ran out not long afterwards, as Ekici poked a hopeful foot at de Bruyne's driven delivery to open the scoring.
Ekici the difference
Traore had been one of the home side's more dynamic players in the first period and it didn't take him long to leave his mark on the game after the restart. Christian Genter's cross was only half-cleared, allowing the Guinean international to produce an acrobatic volley that levelled things up. The home side were not level for long, though, as William Kvist's error released Hunt, who made no mistake in restoring Werder's lead.
Ekici had shown the flashes of quality throughout and produced a moment of magic to kill off the VfB challenge, curling a delightful free-kick in off the crossbar to leave Ulreich grasping at thin air. A very satisfying afternoon was then complete moments before the end as de Bruyne burst clear to coolly chip Ulreich for the fourth, giving Thomas Schaaf's men their first away win of the calendar year.
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