Newcomers VfB Stuttgart continued their upward trend in the Bundesliga and joined the battle for international starting positions. The Swabians won the Baden-Württemberg duel against TSG Hoffenheim 2-0 (1-0) on Sunday evening and are in wait in the race for Europe.
An early own goal by defender Kasim Adams (15th) and striker Sasa Kalajdzic (64th), who scored in the seventh league game in a row, gave coach Pellegrino Matarazzo’s team their third win in their last four games.
The Austrian Kalajdzic set Fredi Bobic’s club record from the 1995/96 season. Nine game days before the end of the season, Stuttgart are in eighth place with 36 points – within striking distance of Union Berlin (38) and Bayer Leverkusen (40).
The Hoffenheim team and coach Sebastian Hoeneß, who started the season with European Cup ambitions, suffered a bitter setback. For the Kraichgauer it was the first bankruptcy after four games without a defeat. With 30 points, TSG is stuck in eleventh place in the midfield of the league.
The people of Stuttgart are allowed to dream. “Two weeks ago we were still talking about the relegation battle and now about Europe. It’s quick,” Matarazzo said before the game. In a balanced initial phase, VfB took the lead with the first successful attack.
Silas Wamangituka broke through on the right wing after a quarter of an hour, and Adams unluckily extended his low cross into his own goal. Shortly thereafter, captain Gonzalo Castro, who had returned to the starting line-up, failed with a long-range shot at TSG goalkeeper Oliver Baumann.
The guests from Hoffenheim initially had difficulties cracking the Stuttgart’s well-staggered defense. The greatest chance of equalizing in the first half had striker Andrej Kramaric, who failed with a powerful header from eleven meters to Gregor Kobel (37th).