After Daniel Ginczek had cancelled out Tobias Werner’s inventive strike in the first half, Raul Bobadilla’s eighth of the season got the home side back to winning ways and on track in their bid to qualify for the UEFA Europa League.
Early blows traded
Stuttgart went into the game in a confident frame of mind following last week’s thrilling 3-2 win over SV Werder Bremen, but they were caught cold at the SGL Arena. When Sven Ulreich rushed off his line to clear a long punt into his box, Augsburg's Alexander Esswein sent the ball back into the mixer, where Werner was on hand to apply a cool improvised finish.
Stuttgart responded well, however, and after the enterprising Filip Kostic had tested Marwin Hitz, Huub Stevens’ men found their equaliser. The goal owed much to the quick thinking of Alexandru Maxim, whose free-kick released Kostic down the left, with the Serb producing a perfect cross to pick out Ginczek for a tap-in from close range.
Hitz excels, Bobadilla strikes
It was Ginczek’s fifth goal in his last four matches, and it signalled a period of dominance for the visitors in which they should have led before the interval. Hitz spread himself brilliantly to deny Ginczek another close-range goal and then produced a smart stop to keep out a Geoffroy Serey Die effort after the Ivorian’s mazy run.
The pattern of VfB dominance continued after the interval, with Christian Gentner scooping an effort over the top and Kostic stinging Hitz’s palms once more, but the hosts stood their ground and soon retook the lead. Once again it came against the run of play, but that mattered little to goalscorer Bobadilla, the Paraguayan international lashing home from close range after Ulreich could only parry an ambitious volley from Daniel Baier.
Home defence secure
Stevens went for broke in the final ten minutes by throwing on Vedad Ibisevic and Timo Werner, but the home side continued to hold firm at the back and might have extended their lead on the break but for an errant pass from Abdul Rahman Baba to Bobadilla.
Markus Weinzierl’s charges then wasted further good opportunities to kill the game off on the counter, but Stuttgart fell short of their expectations and failed to really trouble Hitz in a nervy and frantic four minutes of stoppage time. The result takes Augsburg five points ahead of seventh place a step closer to European qualification, with Stuttgart remaining deep in relegation trouble.
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