The Dutchman's 71st-minute penalty brought Markus Weinzierl's side their first points on the road since Matchday 3, in a game which Augsburg dominated after Stuttgart's Daniel Schwaab was sent off in the 28th-minute.
Two yellows mean red
As a response to his side’s recent defensive struggles, Stuttgart coach Armin Veh recalled Sven Ulreich in goal and handed a first start to youngster Timo Baumgartl amongst five changes from Matchday 11’s loss in Bremen. The reshuffle seemed to have the desired effect as the hosts began assuredly, Schwaab putting in plenty of crosses from right-back, one drawing Augsburg centre-half Jan-Ingwer Callsen-Bracker into an excellent clearance off the toes of the arriving Martin Harnik.
As the game settled after the 15-minute mark, Augsburg began to dominate possession, allowing their full-backs, Abdul Rahman Baba and Verhaegh, to push high, the former drawing a foul from Schwaab in the 21st-minute. Seven minutes of Augsburg control later, and another foul from Schwaab, this time on Halil Altintop brought his second yellow and the turning point of the half.
Visitors on top
Weinzierl’s visitors used the extra man to pile on the pressure, Daniel Baier drawing UIreich off his line with one raking pass, while Tobias Werner’s movement was causing problems. Although Moritz Leitner offered Stuttgart some sort of an outlet, it was Baier’s movement off the ball which was forcing their defence ever deeper, and the midfielder brought the half to a conclusion by powering a shot high and wide of Ulreich’s goal.
Leitner remained one of Stuttgart’s few threats on the counter at the start of the second period. Despite Augsburg’s obsessive retention of the ball, the Borussia Dortmund loanee was only denied by a brilliant Callsen-Bracker block when Harnik’s knock-down found his late run into the six-yard box. Ulreich was then called into action in the 56th-minute at the other end to tip wide Markus Feulner’s excellent drive from the edge of the area as the visitors began turning possession into chances.
The penalty king
Altintop fired inches wide from long range in the 64th-minute, before coming even closer moments later as Baumgartl cleared his low strike off the line. Substitute Nikola Djurdjic then drew another excellent save from Ulreich, who was finally beaten shortly afterwards. After Adam Hlousek was penalised for a handball inside the box, Verhaegh stepped up and sent the Stuttgart custodian the wrong way for his fourth goal of the season - all of which have come from the spot.
Augsburg's game plan didn't change after the opener, as they kept calm and recycled the ball cleverly. Baier was drawn into one late clearance and Caiuby should have doubled the lead when he hit the side-netting in stoppage time. As it was, the visitors were happy to settle for 1-0 and victory in a tense Swabian derby that lifts them up to sixth in the standings.
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