Stuttgart miss sitter, slump to eighth consecutive loss


Tue, Mar 04, 2014 - Page 18

VfB Stuttgart slumped to an eighth consecutive Bundesliga defeat after missing an open goal and then conceding two late goals in a dramatic 2-1 defeat at fellow strugglers Eintracht Frankfurt on Sunday.

Martin Harnik gave the five-time German champions the lead after 31 minutes and Alexandru Maxim appeared poised to wrap up the points when he was presented with a gilt-edged chance with 12 minutes left.

Arthur Boka found Maxim in an unmarked position with goalkeeper Kevin Trapp stranded, but incredibly the Romanian missed the target from close range.

Stuttgart paid the penalty two minutes later when goalkeeper Sven Ulreich’s clearance was picked up by Eintracht and Jan Rosenthal was sent clean through on goal to score the equalizer.

Stuttgart’s misery was complete nine minutes later when Alexander Meier swept home Johannes Flum’s pass to score the winner.

There was also drama just before Maxim’s miss when Eintracht were initially awarded a penalty, but the referee changed his mind after consulting his assistant.

“We are not backing our coach [Thomas Schneider] with our performances,” Harnik told Sky Sports. “We hope he stays. We’re in the same boat.”

Earlier on Sunday, swashbuckling TSG 1899 Hoffenheim were involved in yet another high-scoring Bundesliga match as they thrashed VfL Wolfsburg 6-2, with three of their goals coming in a six-minute spell before halftime.

Hoffenheim’s 23 games have produced exactly 100 goals and the midtable side have the league’s third-best attack, with 52 goals scored, and second-worst defense, with 48 conceded.

Previous results have included four 2-2 draws, two 3-3 draws and a 4-4 draw, plus a 6-2 defeat and 5-1 win.

Roberto Firmino began the entertainment in the fourth minute when he diverted Anthony Modeste’s cross into the net to put Hoffenheim ahead, although Bas Dost headed the fifth-placed visitors level after 15 minutes.

Niklas Suele headed Hoffenheim back in front in the 37th minute, before Frenchman Modeste scored twice in quick succession to make it 4-1 at halftime.

There were some brief jitters for the home fans when Ivan Perisic turned in Kevin de Bruyne’s cross to pull one back for Wolfsburg in the 76th minute, but Sejad Salihovic added a fifth with a penalty in the 82nd minute and then set up the sixth goal for Sven Schipplock four minutes later.

Hoffenheim coach Markus Gisdol was still not satisfied with his team’s performance.

“In my opinion we still eased off too much. I would have liked my team to stay aggressive,” he told Sky Sports.