Stuttgart - VfB Stuttgart remain without a home win since 27 September 2014 after being held to a goalless draw by ten-man Hertha Berlin at the Mercedes-Benz-Arena.
The Bundesliga's bottom club failed to convert their dominance into chances and, in the end, were a shade fortunate to come away with a point after Hertha substitute Nico Schulz, who was sent off in injury time, fired wide late on.
Serbian winger Filip Kostic was recalled to the Stuttgart starting line-up for the first time in over three months in place of suspended forward Martin Harnik. Hertha head coach Pal Dardai also made changes, with Jon Heitinga, Valentin Stocker und Jens Hegeler coming in for Peter Niemeyer, Schulz and Per Skjelbred.
Curiously enough, the contest pitted the Bundesliga’s worst home team against the division’s poorest travellers. Hosts Stuttgart started the better of the two, despite having mustered just one league win on their own patch so far in 2014/15. Timo Werner had die Schwaben’s best chance of the half, but the 19-year-old forward could only drag his shot wide under pressure from Peter Pekarik.
Rare Hertha effort
Hertha themselves had only won twice on the road this term and their lack of confidence wasn’t doing them any favours in the Baden-Württemberg capital. Kostic and Werner were running the show, albeit failing to make the most of a handful of promising openings. The visitors showed momentary signs of life as Stocker pulled the trigger from range, but Sven Ulreich made the save.
Dardai rolled the dice at the break, with Heitinga - on a yellow card from the very first minute - and Hegeler making way for Schulz and Tolga Cigerci, the Turkish midfielder taking to the field of play for the first time since 26 April 2014 following injury.
Schulz in the thick of things
Hertha goalkeeper Thomas Kraft required treatment after colliding with Georg Niedermeier, but the former FC Bayern München keeper looked to be in fine fettle as he put his body on the line to twice deny Daniel Ginczek from close range. That proved to be the former 1. FC Nürnberg forward’s last meaningful contribution, with Vedad Ibisevic entering the fray 21 minutes from time.
Kraft was called into action again, diving full-stretch to keep out Daniel Schwaab's goal-bound header, before Schulz spurned the chance of the night following a blistering run from Salomon Kalou at the other end. The home side had been rooted to the foot of the standings for four consecutive Bundesliga matchdays prior to Friday's encounter and there was to be no change on that front, despite Schulz seeing red deep into stoppage time.
Line-ups and statistics