Stuttgart - VfB Stuttgart put an end to a run of ten games without a win, picking up three pivotal points in the relegation battle by beating ten-men Hamburger SV 1-0 to move themselves out of the bottom two.
As expected, nerves were prevalent in the early stages of an intense, fast-paced encounter that boasted everything but the all-important final ball. Vedad Ibisevic, back from a five-game ban and keen to make up for lost time, had an early effort blocked before heading just wide of the upright from a Ibrahima Traore free-kick. Hamburg were enjoying a greater share of possession and almost rewarded themselves when Milan Badelj unleashed a fierce drive just wide of the target.
However, with both sides bereft of creativity in the final third, neither were able to establish a control on proceedings as they went in at the break with the deadlock still intact. Hamburg were making life difficult for their struggling hosts, but had the stuffing knocked out of them when Hakan Calhanoglu saw red for a second bookable offence eight minutes after the restart.
The sending off sparked Stuttgart into life, yet despite forcing the Red Shorts onto the back foot, they were perhaps fortunate to take the lead as Traore pounced on Heiko Westermann’s poor clearance to find substitute Alexandru Maxim unmarked at the back post for the simplest of finishes. With HSV limited to creating chances from set-pieces, the hosts continued to press their advantage and would have doubled their lead were it not for Rene Adler's late heroics, but it remained enough for them to maintain their unbeaten record under Huub Stevens.
Line-ups and statistics
Despite losing, Hamburger SV's made it onto Matchday 26's Top 5 Saves on the official Bundesliga YouTube channel: