Alexandru Maxim, Ibrahima Traore and substitute Martin Harnik joined Vedad Ibisevic on the score sheet in Lower Saxony, with rock-bottom Braunschweig powerless to prevent a sixth defeat of the campaign.
Kirschbaum to the rescue
Braunschweig head coach Torsten Lieberknecht looked to remedy his side’s paltry three-goal return for the campaign by pairing Simeon Jackson und cult hero Domi Kumbela together in attack, but it was the visitors who went closest to opening the scoring, with Stuttgart's Ibisevic firing straight at Marjan Petkovic barely two minutes in.
To their credit, the hosts started just as brightly and were almost rewarded for their efforts in the 26th minute when Kumbela directed a Kevin Kratz corner agonisingly wide. Stuttgart then had Thomas Kirschbaum to thank for keeping the scores level, Sven Ulreich’s understudy diving full-stretch to keep out Marco Caliguiri’s deflected drive.
Two goals down
It proved a decisive passage in the contest and, unfortunately for Braunschweig, the prelude to Ibisevic's predatory opener. The home side looked to have their backs covered as Maxim sized up a left-wing free kick, but when the ball came in, Stuttgart's leading scorer rose highest to send a flicked header into the net with just five minutes left of the first half.
Worse was to follow for Lieberknecht's men, who fell further behind shortly after the restart. Petkovic did well to keep out Stuttgart midfielder Traore's grass-cutting strike, but in doing so inadvertently parried into the path of Maxim, who thrashed home his third goal of the season from close range.
The Traore show
Seemingly coasting to victory, Stuttgart turned the screw, with Traore proving a real menace on the right-hand side. Ken Reichel and Mirko Boland simply had no answer to the searing pace of the Guinea international, whose fierce 18-yard strike forced a smart save from Petkovic.
The fleet-footed winger did not have to wait long to throw his name into the scorers' hat, though, converting Christian Gentner's perfectly weighed slide-rule pass, before teeing up Harnik to round off a comfortable afternoon's work and fire Stuttgart up to sixth in the standings late on.
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