Stuttgart ensured their Bundesliga survival on Saturday after Christian Gentner's first Bundesliga goal in almost two years and a late strike by Berkay Özcan were enough to secure victory against Werder Bremen.
Goals: 1-0 Gentner (13'), Goals: 2-0 Özcan (90')
Although hovering around mid-table prior to this encounter, Stuttgart were nonetheless keen to edge ever closer to guaranteeing their top-flight survival. To that end, the hosts were given the perfect boost prior to the quarter mark when Emiliano Insua's centre from the left was headed in by Gentner for his first top-flight goal of the campaign. The goal meant that Bremen had conceded for an eleventh consecutive away match under Florian Kohfeldt and try as he might from the sideline, the coach couldn't inspire a response from the River Islanders who went in at the break a frustrated team.
Trailing their opponents by two points going into this encounter, Werder were well aware they couldn't afford to fall further behind. As if jolted into life, the visitors created a chance for Jerome Gondorf to shoot and draw a save from Ron-Robert Zieler. Soon afterward, Marco Friedl should have beaten the home goalkeeper but failed to connect properly with Florian Kainz's dangerous cross. Bremen opted for several changes as they continued to chase thereafter but were finally brought to their knees when Özcan netted at the death.
FULLTIME— VfB Stuttgart_int (@VfB_int) 21 avril 2018
YESSSSSSSS!!! #VfB secures a 2-0 home win vs. @werderbremen_en! The point tally climbs to 42, which means #VfB cannot be relegated anymore! CONGRATS boys, very well done! #VfBSVW 2-0 (FT) pic.twitter.com/NGnncVM3kS
- Gentner's previous Bundesliga goal came on May 7, 2016 against Mainz.
- There have now been 335 goals in the 102 Bundesliga meetings between these teams.
- Stuttgart are unbeaten in their six home games under Korkut.
- The promoted side have now won two of their last ten Bundesliga matches against Werder – Daniel Ginczek bagged a brace in the 3-2 win in April 2015.
- Bremen have failed to keep a clean sheet in their 11 away league games under Kohfeldt.
Stuttgart: Zieler – Pavard, Baumgartl, Badstuber, Insua – Gentner (c), Ascacibar, Aogo, Thommy (Donis 67') – Ginczek (Özcan 58'), Gomez (Kaminski 82')
Unused subs: Meyer, Mangala, Bruun Larsen, Akolo
Absentees: Mane (thigh), Beck (knee)
Coach: Tayfun Korkut
Bremen: Pavlenka – Gebre Selassie, Veljkovic, Moisander, Friedl – Eggestein, Bargfrede, Gondorf (Junuzovic 71') – Belfodil (Johannsson 71'), Kruse (c), Kainz (Rashica 62')
Unused subs: Drobny, Langkamp, Bauer, Eggestein
Absentees: Delaney (suspended), Zetterer (wrist), Augustinsson (thigh), Bartels (Achilles tendon), Zhang (work permit), Manneh (ankle)
Coach: Florian Kohfeldt