Stuttgart - Borussia Mönchengladbach picked up their fourth win in a row and second straight on their travels courtesy of a 2-0 triumph at VfB Stuttgart, further cementing their place in the top four on Friday night.
Attacks to the fore
Raffael gave Lucien Favre's side the lead in a wide open first 45 minutes before Oscar Wendt condemned Stuttgart to defeat midway through the second half, leaving Thomas Schneider's side without a win at the Mercedes-Benz-Arena this season since the first day of September.
As Granit Xhaka sent in an immediate shot, it was clear that Gladbach coach Lucien Favre's pre-match prediction of an open, attacking game was going to be accurate. And so it was with Stuttgart going close on their first foray forward, Alexandru Maxim's teasing low cross just a few inches in front of Vedad Ibisevic with Gladbach goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen slow to react.
Stuttgart kept up their early pressure with captain Christian Gentner leading by example, but it was Xhaka who provided the next moment of danger with another effort from distance. The chances were falling at both ends as both sides stayed true to their attacking philosophies. Patrick Herrmann had the Foals' next opportunity when he was put through by Raffael only for Sven Ulreich to come out on top of their duel, with Max Kruse firing over having collected the loose ball.
Gladbach get a grip
Maxim tucked a shot into the side-netting while the lethal pace of Timo Werner started to cause more and more problems to the Gladbach rearguard, which he penetrated on the half-hour mark, taking the ball past ter Stegen before being denied by the covering defenders. However, it was Gladbach who took the lead when Herrmann intelligently teed up Raffael, who kept his cool to beat Ulreich at his his near post.
Two efforts from Juan Arango and a dangerous Kruse effort rounded off the first half with the visitors legitimising their lead. It was a similar story straight after the break as Gladbach emerged from the changing rooms keen to assert themselves on the game. Raffael sent a header onto the roof of the net before Kruse again brought a fine one-handed save out of an increasingly occupied Ulreich. Just five minutes later though, Gladbach got the second goal they were searching for.
Two much for Stuttgart
Herrmann was the provider again as he hooked the ball back from the goal line to Wendt, who took just one touch to settle himself before sweeping a sweet left-footed volley into the bottom corner of Ulreich's goal. Gladbach had an immediate chance to put the match to bed, but Kruse chose the wrong option with only Ulreich to beat, trying to find Herrmann when route one was probably the safer choice.
Gaps opened up as Stuttgart inevitably had to gamble, but the second goal had effectively left the hosts too much work to do. Herrmann went close to making it three before Ibisevic, like in the opening minutes, failed to reach another low cross, falling inches short, just like his side did once again in front of their own fans.
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