VfB Stuttgart earned a hard-fought 1-0 win at Hamburg SV to end the home side’s four-game unbeaten run on Sunday.
Vedad Ibisevic’s 31st-minute strike was enough for the visitors to claim just their second win of the season and stem talk of a crisis engulfing the club.
Martin Harnik crossed for the Bosnian striker to steal ahead of his marker and convert at the near post past goalkeeper Rene Adler.
“You couldn’t see that we had collected 10 points from the previous four games,” Hamburg captain Heiko Westermann said.
Adler had made a great block to deny Harnik in the second minute and Ibisevic had another chance in the 15th, but fired wide under pressure from a defender.
“The win does us a lot of good,” said Stuttgart coach Bruno Labbadia, who used to be in charge of Hamburg. “It was a sensational performance today.”
The home side’s first big chance fell to Dutchman Raphael van der Vaart in the 43rd minute, but Arthur Boka made a crucial intervention.
Boka hobbled off injured as a result and there was still time before the break for Artjoms Rudnevs’ effort to be ruled offside after Milan Badelj’s initial long-range strike hit the crossbar.
Either side could have scored after the interval.
Hamburg defender Dennis Diekmeier dispossessed Ibrahima Traore in the penalty area, before the outstanding Sven Ulreich made saves from Maximilian Beister, Van der Vaart and Rudnevs. Son Heung-min then wasted the next chance from a rebound.
Adler kept the result in doubt until the end with another save from Harnik.
“We said before the game that they were a good team, even if they were low down [in the standings],” said Van der Vaart, who was not at his best after returning from international duty with a thigh strain.
Earlier on Sunday, Nuremberg ended their four-game losing streak with a 0-0 draw at home to Augsburg.
Augsburg came closest to scoring in a keenly contested game of little quality and the final whistle was greeted by whistles from the Nuremberg fans, who have not seen their side win at home since April.
“At least we stopped the bad run somewhat,” said Nuremberg goalkeeper Raphael Schaefer, who went off at the interval with an Achilles problem. “Of course, it wasn’t a good game. You can see how insecure the team is at the moment.”
Knowledge Musona had the game’s first shot on target in the 30th minute, straight at Schaefer, and Nuremberg defender Hanno Balitsch had a half-chance at the other end before the break, but he failed to connect properly with the ball.
Substitute goalkeeper Patrick Rakovsky almost gifted Augsburg the opener by failing to claim a corner, with Aristide Bance, Thomas Oehrl and then Ragnar Klavan all having attempts blocked before he finally gathered the ball.
Rakovsky then denied Bance in the 67th minute.
“If you score goals you can also win such a game,” Augsburg coach Markus Weinzierl said. “So [at least] we can be happy we took the point.”