The Bundesliga returned with a bang on Friday night as Stuttgart took all three points following a dramatic finale against a Cologne side still to win this season.
Stuttgart 2-1 Cologne
Goals: 1-0 Donis (38'), 1-1 Heintz (77'), 2-1 Akolo (90+4')
The teams were evenly-matched in the first half, with the visitors looking refreshed following the international break and evidently keen on earning their first win of the 2017/18 campaign. However, although Cologne led in terms of number of shots taken, it was the hosts who took the lead when Anastasios Donis latched onto a through-ball, held off Frederik Sörensen's challenge and slotted home.
Stuttgart appeared to be in a comfortable position after the break, but Dominique Heintz's Arjen Robben-esque stunner - a curling left-footed strike into the top corner from the edge of the box - pulled Cologne level. The match appeared to heading for a draw when Cologne were awarded a penalty in the last minute, only for the referee to overturn his decision after consulting Video Assist. Worse was to come for the visitors, as Stuttgart broke forward and Chadrac Akolo danced into the box before poking a deflected shot home to give VfB a third home win in four this season.
Man of the match
Donis was a blur of tireless movement throughout his 80 minutes on the pitch, constantly dragging the Cologne defence out of position with his pace and clever runs. The Greece international deservedly got his name on the scoresheet, having peppered Timo Horn's goal with ten shots over the course of the game.
- Following a 52-game goal drought, Heintz scored again. It was his first since finding the net in a 3-1 win over Frankfurt on 13 February 2016.Donis netted his maiden Bundesliga goal for StuttgartThis was the first home win in 20 encounters in this fixture.It was also Stuttgart's first victory in 12 home games against Cologne. The Billy Goats are now ten games without a win this season.Pizarro was brought on as a substitute for the 119th time in his career. Only Mike Hanke (122) and Mehmet Scholl (123) made more apperances off the bench.
Stuttgart: Zieler - Kaminski (Beck 18'), Baumgartl, Badstuber – Pavard, Ascacibar, Mangala, Aogo (c) - Brekalo (Akolo 61'), Donis (Ginczek 80') - Terodde
Coach: Hannes Wolf
Cologne: Horn – Klünter, Sörensen, Heintz, Rausch (Handwerker 72') – Jojic (Guirassy 65'), Lehmann (c), Özcan (Pizrro 46'), Bittencourt – Zoller, Osako
Coach: Peter Stöger
Watch: Stuttgart goalscorer Donis reflects on his side's victory