SV Darmstadt 98 2-2 VfB Stuttgart: Spoils shared in cracking encounter

The Lilies were held to a draw despite their best efforts.

SV Darmstadt 98 2-2 VfB Stuttgart: Spoils shared in cracking encounter
Image credit: kicker - Getty Images
SV Darmstadt 98
2 2
VfB Stuttgart
SV Darmstadt 98: (4-4-1-1) Mathenia; Jungwirth, Sulu, Rajkovic, Caldirola; Heller, Niemeyer, Gondorf, Rausch; Vrancic (Platte 90+2'); Wagner.
VfB Stuttgart: (4-1-4-1) Tyton; Schwaab, Baumgartl, Sunjic (Klein 21'), Insua; Serey Dié; Rupp (Werner 87'), Gentner, Didavi (Harnik 72'), Kostic; Kravets.
SCORE: 1-0, Wagner 26'. 1-1, Gentner 45'. 1-2, Rupp 45+3'. 2-2, Niemeyer 51'.
REFEREE: Felix Zwayer (Berlin). Booked: Niemeyer (62'), Jungwirth (70'), Rausch (88'), Klein (90'), Heller (90').

Darmstadt and Stuttgart couldn't be separated on Saturday, as they shared four goals at the Merck-Stadion am Böllenfalltor.

Sandro Wagner gave the hosts the lead before two late strikes from Christian Gentner and Filip Kostic turned the game on its head.

Peter Niemeyer equalised but neither team could grab a vital winning goal.

Darmstadt deservedly lead

Despite Stuttgart being favourites coming into the game, it was Darmstadt and their very vocal support that were on the edge of their seats in the first minute. A wonderful weaving run from Mario Vrancic opened up space on the edge of the area, although his cutback was sent over the bar from Peter Niemeyer.

The Swabians were quickly coming forward themselves, but the face of Christian Mathenia kept out Lukas Rupp's strong shot. Filip Kostic fired a free-kick past the post from distance and Slobodan Rajkovic nodded narrowly over Przemyslaw Tyton's goal from close range, in what was a busy beginning.

The tempo then slowed somewhat after the initial barrage of chances, although their was no let up in the midfield battle. A nasty knock then left Toni Sunjic floored, and still dizzy from the challenge, meant he had to be replaced by Florian Klein; a defensive change was not what the visitors wanted.

That showed in the moments that followed, as a dreaful back-pass from Geoffroy Serey Dié played Sandro Wagner in on goal. The defence was nowhere to be seen and Wagner needed no invitation to go through on goal unchallenged. He slotted home with a cool finish for the 12th time this season, giving the hosts a vital lead.

Stuttgart turn things around

The goal seemed to steady the confident Lilies even further, who were controlling the game. However, any thoughts that they would have a comfortable run to the break were quickly rubbished. Kostic had a great chance to level when he was sent forward but scuffed his shot past the post.

Stuttgart would get level before the half-time whistle would sound, and do it it in style. A cross towards the back of the box seemed to evade everyone, although Christian Gentner had timed his run perfectly to meet the ball on the half volley. He thundered a superb strike off the ground, helping it pick up pace and find the top corner.

The visitors would have been content to have been level after the first 45 and it was a score-line that looked deserved based on the play. In added time, that all changed. A long ball forward was nodded down by Artem Kravets and into the path of Rupp, who took the shot on first time and volleyed past Mathenia to complete the turnaround.

Stuttgart celebrate. | Image: kicker
Stuttgart celebrate. | Image: kicker

Niemeyer misses massive chance

Darmstadt, not deterred by the two late goals, came back in the second half and leveled within six minutes. Vrancic was the creator, as he directed a free-kick in from the right towards the six-yard box. Tyton was hesitant and, as a result, ended up in no man's land. That left Niemeyer free to pounce and head home from close range.

That was the main highlight from an otherwise hard-fought and combative 25 minutes that followed. Both sides found it hard to break through given the constant fouls that disrupted play on a regular basis. The major talking point from the period was a penalty appeal turned down on Vrancic, much to his dismay.

There would be one more massive chance in the match, and Darmstadt were left wondering how they had managed to miss. The Lilies hit the post with an initial header before the ball dropped to Niemeyer mere inches out, though the midfielder's shot was pushed onto the bar and over by Tyton while lying on the floor.

The final whistle sounded and both teams came away with a point, although the hosts were by far the more disappointed outfit. They remain embroiled in the relegation battle, just two points above Eintracht Frankfurt in 17th. Stuttgart moved six clear of the drop and should pick up enough points in the coming weeks to keep their Bundesliga status.