Werder Bremen missed the chance to go to the top of the Bundesliga as they were beaten 2-1 by a VfB Stuttgart side who celebrated their first win of the season on Saturday.
Stuttgart 2-1 Bremen
Goals: 1-0 Donis (19'), 1-1 Zieler (o.g., 68'), 2-1 Castro (75')
Red card: Veljkovic (36')
Bremen arrived in Stuttgart boosted by Bayern Munich's first defeat of the season on Friday night, which granted them the opportunity of moving to the top of the table with a win. Indeed, there was a swagger in the step of Florian Kohfeldt's men as Ron-Robert Zieler was given plenty of work in the Stuttgart goal. Almost against the run of play – although the hosts had created a few openings – Daniel Didavi teed up Anastasios Donis to dribble round Jiri Pavlenka and put the home team in front. Theodor Gebre Selassie missed a gilt-edged chance to level soon after as it started to look like it could be one of those days for the northerners. Milos Veljkovic did not help matters when he picked up a second yellow card to leave the guests with ten men, just ten minutes before the interval.
Bremen, who gambled with Claudio Pizarro and Martin Harnik both sent on, needed a favour and they were given one by Stuttgart goalkeeper Zieler, who failed to control an innocuous Borna Sosa throw-in, instead helping it find a way through and into his own goal. Bremen were now throwing caution to the wind as they sought a winner, but the plan backfired when Castro took full advantage of a lack of numbers in the Bremen defence to meet Mario Gomez's pass and restore Stuttgart's lead with 15 minutes left. Bremen continued to attack, leaving Stuttgart with gaps to exploit, although they were unable to rubber-stamp their first win of the season as chances were wasted until the final whistle was met with a mixture of joy and relief by the Mercedes-Benz Arena faithful.
- Didavi made his first start of the season in the Bundesliga, having previously only started in the first round of the DFB Cup.Donis' goal was his third in the Bundesliga – Stuttgart won on both previous occasions he had found the back of the net (against Cologne and Bayern Munich last season).It was Stuttgart's first goal at home this season, giving them a 1-0 lead for the first time this campaign.In October 2004, Bremen recovered from being a goal and a man down to beat Stuttgart 2-1, with Miroslav Klose and Nelson Valdez on target after Ludovic Magnin's red card – there was not to be a repeat today, however.Mario Gomez has scored nine goals in 20 Bundesliga appearances against Bremen, including a hat-trick in 2007/08.Stuttgart haven't lost at home to Werder since February 2013, and only 11 times in 52 visits.Pizarro came on to make his 450th Bundesliga appearance.
Stuttgart: Zieler - Beck, Baumgartl, Pavard, Sosa – Aogo (Castro 52') – Ascacibar, Gentner (c) (Gonzalez 74') – Didavi – Donis (Thommy 61'), Gomez
Unused subs: Grahl, Badstuber, Insua, Sarpei
Absentees: Kempf (thigh), Meyer (cruciate ligament)
Coach: Tayfun Korkut
Bremen: Pavlenka - Gebre Selassie, Veljkovic, Moisander, Augustinsson (Pizarro 67') – Bargfrede (Harnik 67') – M. Eggestein, Klaassen – Sahin – Osako (Kainz 80'), Kruse (c)
Unused subs: Plogmann ,Friedl, Langkamp, J. Eggestein
Absentees: Johannsson (ankle), Kapino (thigh), Käuper (ankle)
Coach: Florian Kohfeldt
Watch: Pizarro: "It could be my last year..."