Frankfurt - Two late goals from Jan Rosenthal and Alexander Meier earned Eintracht Frankfurt a 2-1 victory over VfB Stuttgart, who have now lost eight consecutive Bundesliga matches.
Martin Harnik gave the visitors the lead after half an hour with a composed finish, but Rosenthal struck ten minutes from time to level the score before Meier grabbed a last-minute winner to earn Frankfurt a much-needed three points which eases their relegation fears.
Frankfurt, who were dumped out of Europe in heart-breaking fashion by FC Porto on Thursday, started with intent and could have taken the lead inside three minutes. However, Tranquillo Barnetta steered his volley wide of the mark after the Swiss international had been found by Johannes Flum’s deep cross. Ulreich then did well to keep out Barnetta’s close-range header as the Eagles pressed for an early breakthrough.
It failed to arrive though, and the visitors soon started to gain in confidence, with Alexandru Maxim testing Kevin Trapp from distance before Cacau curled a left-footed shot wide of Trapp’s right-hand post from a tight angle. The game became increasingly scrappy as the half wore on, with some uncompromising tackling by both sets of players, but it was Stuttgart who eventually broke the deadlock on the half-hour mark.
Harnik opens the scoring
Antonio Rüdiger intercepted Marco Russ’ pass and immediately laid the ball off to Maxim, who made a beeline for goal before finding an unmarked Harnik on the edge of the penalty area. The Austrian international turned inside Carlos Zambrano and onto his right foot, before firing low past Trapp for his fifth Bundesliga goal of the season. Stuttgart could have doubled their lead shortly afterwards, yet Cacau’s effort was well saved by Trapp.
The visitors picked up in the second half where they had left off in the first, and Maxim’s pinpoint pass almost set up Harnik for his second of the game only for the 26-year-old to scuff his effort wide of the mark. Stuttgart were firmly in control of proceedings at this stage, but after Moritz Leitner and Arthur Boka had both tried their luck for the visitors, Ulreich had to be at full stretch to palm Stefan Aigner’s header to safety.
Eagles strike late on
Aigner’s chance seemed to give the hosts new-found belief. The Eagles started to put the visitors under increasing pressure and came within a whisker of finding an equaliser when Barnetta’s effort from a wide position flew inches wide of the far post. Frankfurt thought they had won a 72nd-minute penalty when Barnetta fell under a challenge from Cacau, but after consulting with his assistant, the referee awarded a free-kick for Stuttgart.
Thomas Schneider’s side should have wrapped up the points moments later when Boka set up Maxim, but the Romanian somehow miss-hit his close-range effort when it seemed easier to score. Stuttgart were made to pay for the 23-year-old’s profligacy ten minutes from time, as Rosenthal ran onto Flum’s header over the visiting defence to calmly slide the ball past Ulreich, before Flum set up Meier to seal a 2-1 win which lifts Frankfurt up to 12th in the table.
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