It was a beautiful day in Stuttgart as they hosted Werder Bremen and it was a the hosts that came out on top in a dramatic day in the sun.
Stuttgart were bottom of the table going into this game and with time running out they needed win’s fast if they’re to avoid relegation. After their impressive win against Eintracht Frankfurt Stuttgart lost 3-1 last weekend away to the high-flying Wolfsburg.
Since the winter break Bremen have been in terrific form and leapt up the table after a poor start. The last five games have seen the win’s dry up but they’ve been hard to beat, just one win and that was against Freiburg, they’ve lost twice both against the top two Bayern and Wolfsburg and their last two outings have seen draws against Mainz and Köln. The team in 9th had the chance to move up to 7th place thanks to Köln defeating Hoffenheim in Sunday’s earlier game.
It was a close encounter and the opening ten minutes didn’t produce many chances, however it was a competitive match up.
With fifteen minutes on the clock Stuttgart broke the deadlock, Alexandru Maxim kept the ball in play before laying it off to Filip Kostić, his cross picked out Martin Harnik towards to back post and his chest control was deflected and cleared, however the poor clearance flew to Christian Gentner and the midfielder showed terrific technique to brilliantly strike his volley low and hard into the bottom corner as it skipped past defenders and Raphael Wolf.
The goal gave the hosts a huge lift and were causing problems, however there were a few half chances which weren’t taken. Bremen also had a few half chances and they were still in the game. Harnik came close ten minutes before half time, a ball over the top saw him control well before beating his marker and firing at goal, unfortunately it was narrowly over.
At half time Bremen brought on youngster Davie Selke and it was an inspired substitution as five minutes into the half he was on the scoresheet and Bremen were level. The ball was cheaply given away by Stuttgart, Clemens Fritz quickly broke away and after a great burst forward he provided an excellent cross to pick out Selke. The RB Leipzig bound striker headed brilliantly from 14 yards and Sven Ulreich couldn’t make the save as it flew into the bottom corner.
Selke looked confident and five minutes later he tried his luck from range, cutting inside and his shot was comfortably saved by Ulreich.
Harnik was kicking himself just after the hour mark as he missed sitters. The ball kindly fell to him after Ginczek’s shot was blocked and Harnik just needed to hit the target, however he failed to do so and blazed the effort over. Moments later he was picked out with a great cross and unmarked at the back post it was harder to miss than it was to score, the goal was empty and he somehow directed the ball wide of the goal.
Stuttgart regained the lead with twenty minutes remaining, Wolf made a huge error in needlessly coming out of goal and he was rightfully punished. Harnik made up for his two misses by crossing to Ginczek and the striker easily headed into the empty net.
Harnik’s day worsened as he received a second yellow for a needless foul on Junuzović. To make it even that little bit worse Bremen went up and scored an equaliser two minutes after the sending off. A corner was whipped in and Vestergaard leapt the highest to powerfully head in from five yards out, Ulreich couldn’t keep it out after getting his forearm on the ball.
As the game entered injury time Stuttgart’s Serey Die charged forward and picked out Ginczek playing him through on goal and the striker stayed calm to slot past Wolf and lift the roof off the stadium.
An entertaining encounter came to an end and Harnik was delighted, sprinting onto the pitch to celebrate and thank Ginczek who stepped up and became the hero Stuttgart needed. The victory is a big one for Stuttgart as it takes them off the bottom to leap above Hamburg. Bremen stay where they are and they’ll be disappointed they weren’t able to see out the draw or push on for a winner.