Stuttgart’s push for European football continued on Sunday as Die Schwaben beat Werder Bremen 1-0 at the Mercedes-Benz Arena.
An ugly contest throughout, the only goal of the game was an own-goal, which goes to show just how sloppy of an affair it really was. A cross eventually bounced off of Bremen defender Ludwig Augustinsson and past his goalkeeper Jiří Pavlenka to give Stuttgart the lead, and they were able to hold on to clinch all three points.
Story of the match
It was a relatively open first half, but neither team was able to create any clear cut chances.
Romano Schmid connected sweetly with a volley at one stage, but his effort flew just too close to goalkeeper Gregor Kobel, who made the save. Then, on the other side of the pitch, a low shot from Philipp Förster forced a good save out of Jiří Pavlenka before Bremen eventually cleared the ball away.
The away side could’ve potentially opened the scoring a bit before the break, as a wonderful touch from Niclas Füllkrug put him into space in the area. However, instead of going for goal himself, he tried to pick out Milot Rashica with a pass that was blocked by a defender.
It was more of the same in the second half. Rashica had a good opportunity with just over 15 minutes to go in the game, but he couldn’t get his shot from the edge of the box on target.
Stuttgart would eventually take the lead in the 81st minute. Coming courtesy of fortunate circumstances, a superb cross from Borna Sosa into the area just glanced off the top of the head of Saša Kalajdžić before ricocheting off the face of Bremen defender Ludwig Augustinsson and into the back of his own net.
Die Grün-Weißen thought they had potentially equalized in stoppage time when Yuya Osako unleashed a powerful strike towards goal, but the ball hit the wrong side of the side netting.
That would prove to be the last moment of the contest, and Stuttgart were able to hold on to secure the win, the clean sheet, and all three points.
Much ado about nothing (again)
This game really should have ended 0-0.
Both sides were poor on the day. Neither really got into any sort of an attacking groove, which led to a lack of real chances and opportunities going forward.
Stuttgart had more of the ball in the first half, and they looked a bit better early on. However, as the contest continued, Bremen were the ones who started to control possession and push forward.
The lone goal did arguably come against the run of play, but Stuttgart won’t mind as that lucky break was enough for them to grab all three points and continue their European dream. Bremen won’t worry too much either since their main focus is on the DFB-Pokal at the moment, but the way they lost this game will still hurt.
Man of the match - Borna Sosa
Effectively setting up the only goal of the game while keeping a clean sheet in the process, Borna Sosa was the best of an uninspired bunch.
Constantly flying down the left wing whenever given the opportunity, it took the Croatian some time to make an impact on the contest. His early crosses were just a bit off, and it was beginning to look like it just wasn’t his or anyone’s day.
However, Sosa was eventually able to put in a wonderful cross into a dangerous area which led to the goal that won Stuttgart the game. It wasn’t the most impressive performance, but the defender was able to do enough to help his side grab all three points.