Munich - VfB Stuttgart and Eintracht Frankfurt each gave themselves a Bundesliga lifeline with victories over SC Freiburg and 1. FSV Mainz 05 respectively, but there was no such luck for 1. FC Nürnberg, who slumped to defeat at home to European hopefuls Borussia Mönchengladbach.
1. FC Nürnberg 0-2 Borussia Mönchengladbach
bundesliga.com rounds up Saturday's action...
Borussia Mönchengladbach took another step towards securing European football next season with a 2-0 victory away to 1. FC Nürnberg, whose hopes of staving off relegation suffered another setback.
Fully aware that fourth place was up for grabs following Bayer 04 Leverkusen’s loss against Hamburger SV on Friday, Gladbach began strongly and almost took the lead within seconds of kick off when neat interplay between Juan Arango and Max Kruse set up Patrick Herrmann in the six-yard box, but his effort was well blocked by Rafael Schäfer in the Nürnberg goal. The visitors refused to let up in the opening exchanges and deservedly took the lead when Arango’s free-kick took a deflection off the Nürnberg wall, leaving Schäfer wrong-footed.
Kruse on target
The hosts were determined not to give up without a fight though, and although Josip Drmic hit the bar with a header - FCN would also later strike the woodwork for a 23rd time this season - they struggled to break down a compact Gladbach side that looked to counterattack at every opportunity. Indeed, while the visitors were far from at their most fluid, they could easily have extended their lead if Kruse had been more ruthless with the handful of chances that came his way.
There was precious little to see at the other end of the pitch from Nürnberg, with Gladbach dominating the closing stages as they looked for a two-goal cushion. Kruse eventually provided it when he coolly converted from the penalty spot after being chopped down by Mike Frantz. The result keeps the Foals firmly in the hunt for a European berth, while Nürnberg’s position gets more precarious with each passing week
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Eintracht Frankfurt 2-0 1. FSV Mainz 05
Eintracht Frankfurt have now as good as secured their Bundesliga status thanks to a deserved 2-0 victory over 1. FSV Mainz 05 at the Commerzbank Arena.
The Eagles went into the game just six points above the relegation play-off place, but Armin Veh’s team showed little sign of resting on their laurels in the opening stages and almost took the lead when Stefan Aigner got on the end of Constant Djakpa’s cross, but his header came off the foot off the post and bounced clear. Loris Karius then had to be at full stretch to save Joselu’s header from another Djakpa delivery, before Maxim Choupo-Moting headed wide at the other end five minutes before the interval.
Despite having the better of the first-half opportunities, Veh’s team nearly fell behind within minutes of the restart when Zdenek Pospech’s cross found Choupo-Moting at the far post. The Cameroon international’s header wrong-footed Kevin Trapp in the Frankfurt goal, but Alexander Madlung was on hand to clear the ball off the line.
Mainz were left to rue that missed chance as Joselu gave the hosts the lead on 52 minutes. Tranquillo Barnetta’s free-kick cannoned off the crossbar, but Mainz failed to clear their lines and the Spaniard was on hand to head home from inside the penalty area. Aigner had a goal disallowed with a quarter of an hour remaining, but Alexander Meier struck on 85 minutes to seal the points for the Eagles, who stay in 11th place in the Bundesliga table.
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VfB Stuttgart 2-0 SC Freiburg
Goals from Alexandru Maxim and Martin Harnik earned VfB Stuttgart a priceless 2-0 win over Baden-Württemberg rivals SC Freiburg at the Mercedes-Benz Arena.
Three wins from their last four matches had seen Freiburg climb clear of the drop zone in recent weeks, but the Black Forest club nearly fell behind after a quarter of an hour when Daniel Divadi’s stinging shot from 25 yards out was tipped onto the crossbar by Oliver Baumann. Antonio Rüdiger then fired an effort straight into the arms of Baumann, and Christian Gentner fired wide from a promising position as the hosts finished the half on top.
VfB take the lead
The visitors almost made the most of Stuttgart’s profligacy ten minutes into the second period, but Admir Mehmedi’s header was palmed onto the post by the diving Sven Ulreich. It proved to be an important save, too, as Stuttgart fashioned the best move of the match to take the lead. Ibrahima Traore played a neat little one-two on the right-hand side, before laying the ball across to substitute Maxim, who tapped into the unguarded net to put Huub Stevens’ team 1-0 up.
It was another substitute, Timo Werner, who nearly doubled the hosts’ lead with 15 minutes remaining. The 18-year-old controlled Traore’s pass with his chest, before cracking a powerful effort against the crossbar. Ulreich then pulled off tremendous saves to deny Matthias Ginter and Mehmedi within minutes of each other, before Rüdiger struck the woodwork again at the other end. Harnik sealed the points for Stuttgart with two minutes left on the clock, firing home from close range and lifting the Swabians of the relegation zone, albeit on goal difference.
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