Eintracht Braunschweig 1-1 VfB Stuttgart: 10-man Swabians hold on for important point
Image credit: Bundesliga.de

VfB Stuttgart held on for 50 minutes with 10-men as Carlos Mané early opener proved enough to resist the Eintracht Braunschweig onslaught and secure a 1-1 draw.

The hosts levelled before the break through Ken Reichel, as they dominated the second half to no avail.

Team news

Torsten Lieberknecht's side had finally found the winning touch in the Rückrunde with a 1-0 win over SV Sandhausen last Friday. He would have to do without star man, Saulo Decarli due to injury, however. He was replaced by captain, Marcel Correia while Suleiman Abdullahi came in for Domi Kumbela.

In contrasting news, Simon Terodde was fit to play with his newly-fitted mask and led the line from the start. Hannes Wolf made just one other change from their 2-0 win over 1. FC Kaiserslautern, as he brought in Berkay Özcan for Takuma Asano.

Mané and penalties aplenty

Any notion of the game being cagey was blown out of the water inside 120 seconds. Josip Brekalo's early effort was well-held before Carlos Mané opened the scoring. Reichel's backpass was hideously under-hit and the Portuguese latched onto the ball. Jasmin Fejzic was expertly rounded, and Mané finished with a cool head.

It could have been two after 15 minutes when Anto Grgic's fantastic free-kick from 40-yards out somehow managed to pick out Timo Baumgartl's head at the back post. The young defender rose highest, only to see his header crash off the back stantion as the Braunschweig defence watched on helpless.

Correia was then forced into some last-ditch defensive action as Stuttgart continued to press forward. Özcan dribbled past two defenders after a lovely touch from Terodde, only for the Lions' skipper to make a necessary intervention. As time went on, the hosts finally got a foothold in the game through Onel Hernandez's direct dribbling style.

From there, Lieberknecht's side turned things up a notch. Hernandez had a penalty appeal turned down as he was body checked by Baumgartl, but a blatant push on Hendrick Zuck from Emiliano Insua saw Benjamin Brand point to the spot. Mirko Boland stepped up but saw his spot-kick palmed away by Mitchell Langerak, who read it well.

Just 10 minutes later and just before half-time, Brand was pointing to the spot once again. This time, however, there would be further reprecutions as Marcel Kaminski was given his second yellow card in six minutes for hauling down Gustav Valsvik. Reichel was entrusted with the spot-kick this time, and he sent it into the top corner to level.

Langerak secures a point for Stuttgart

Now a man down, Wolf had to react at the break and did. Benjamin Pavard and Asano came on for Brekalo and Özcan respectively. It was a much more conservative start to the half from both sides as the rain continued to stream out of the dark night sky. However, Braunschweig were the team pushing hard for the goal to give them the lead.

Hernandez passed up a glorious chance when Langerak punched a cross into his feet, though the winger's first-time effort was wild and off target. Abdullahi had a similar atempt from range, with a flurry of corners resulting in little more than catching and punching practice for the busy and impressive Langerak.

The end in front of the visiting fans would see another penalty appeal turned down as Asano felt Valsvik had handled in the area, though it was correctly waved away by Brand. Braunschweig continued to look dangerous on the counter, and another important intervention from Langerak prevented Abdullahi from reaching Kumbela's cross.

One final troublesome effort from Phil Ofosu-Ayeh was parried away by Langerak, as Stuttgart somehow held firm to earn a point. The Swabians moved four points clear of 1. FC Union Berlin at the top. Braunschweig would have felt the game was there for the taking, yet moved three behind Union in the race for automatic promotion.