Stuttgart - VfB Stuttgart picked up three crucial points in the relegation battle courtesy of a 3-1 success over Eintracht Frankfurt at the Mercedes Benz Arena.
Eagles on top
The visitors dominated the first half, coming closest through Alexander Meier, but it took until the 51st minute for Haris Seferovic to give the Eagles a deserved lead. The opener set the stage for the hosts to produce an unlikely comeback, however, with Daniel Ginczek netting a brace before Alexandru Maxim wrapped up the victory ten minutes from time.
Stuttgart, with the worst record on home soil in the league, were under pressure from a confident Frankfurt side immediately. Takashi Inui’s darting run in the first minute caused panic, while Haris Seferovic volleyed the first chance wide five minutes later. The visitors were moving the ball around with ease, the only resistance coming from Serey Die’s muscular midfield play, and the contrast in confidence with the Swabians, who repeatedly resorted to long-ball tactics, was marked.
An indication of Frankfurt’s dominance was that by the 20-minute mark Thomas Schaaf’s side had fired in four shots to the hosts’ none. One Stefan Aigner effort was well blocked by Georg Niedermeier, but, although misplaced passes undermined Stuttgart's attacking efforts, they did begin to threaten on the break. Carlos Zambrano produced a brilliant tackle to deny Timo Werner in the 28th minute, while Die audaciously chipped his side’s first shot wide from distance two minutes later.
Seferovic finds the net
The game became more even after the half-hour mark, with Meier heading just wide for the Eagles in the 34th minute, while Martin Harnik volleyed over at the other end. With Stuttgart gaining a foothold in midfield, chances fell less regularly as half time approached; Marc Stendera’s free-kick sailed wide, while Werner lost the ball in a promising position, epitomising his side’s first-half display.
Within six minutes of the second period, Schaaf’s troops found the goal their performance deserved. Bastian Oczipka was allowed the freedom to cross from the left flank, with Seferovic applying a volleyed finish from close range. The opener knocked the stuffing out of the hosts, who were indebted to goalkeeper Sven Ulreich for producing an excellent save from Stendera soon afterwards.
The save proved vital, as Stuttgart found an equaliser against the run of play. Harnik’s powerful run took him beyond the defence, and Ginczek was on hand to chest home his low cross. A remarkable turnaround was complete four minutes later, when the goalscorer latched onto Maxim’s brilliant chip and sent his shot over Kevin Trapp into the roof of the net for his maiden Bundesliga brace.
Perhaps shocked at throwing away the lead so quickly, Frankfurt were unusually passive in the closing stages. Indeed, Filip Kostic’s driving run in the 80th minute took him unchecked all the way into the box, where Maxim arrived to provide the finish. Ulreich kept the margin of victory intact with a brilliant late save, as Stuttgart romped to their first home victory since September 2014.
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