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Stuttgart achieves a difficult victory in Darmstadt

VfB Stuttgart is heading towards the Champions League and SV Darmstadt 98 is heading towards relegation. The Swabians won against the Hessians 2-1 on Saturday despite being outnumbered for the entire half.

Goal scorer Serhou Guirassy (14th minute) and substitute Mahmoud Dahoud (90th + 2) scored for Stuttgart, who won their fourth win in a row in the Bundesliga and consolidated third place in the table. Bottom team Darmstadt was unable to use the yellow-red card against VfB defender Pascal Stenzel (45th + 22) and has now been without a win in 15 league games. Substitute Aaron Seydel’s goal (90+5) came too late.

The Stuttgart team got off to a better start and were rewarded with the lead through Guirassy. The Africa Cup returnee was in the starting line-up for the first time since mid-December – and after a corner that the Darmstadt team didn’t defend, he was spot on. After an assist from captain Waldemar Anton, the Guinea international scored with a header. It was his 20th competitive goal this season.

Long break

The Darmstadt team struck back immediately, but the supposed 1-1 by Marvin Mehlem didn’t count. Striker Sebastian Polter had previously received the ball, but referee Tobias Welz canceled the goal after a video check (16th).

Shortly afterwards, tennis balls flew onto the lawn from both fan camps in Darmstadt in protest against the DFL’s investor plans. Welz interrupted the game twice and for a total of around 18 minutes. The referee team conferred on the sidelines and the players tried to keep warm on the pitch.

VfB seemed to have lost its rhythm due to the long break. After the game resumed, the Darmstadt team acted more courageously and looked for a way forward. Striker Luca Pfeiffer failed with a powerful shot past Fabian Bredlow, who was once again replacing Stuttgart’s ailing goalkeeper Alexander Nübel (41′). In stoppage time, VfB defense chief Anton, who wanted to intercept a pass, almost scored an own goal (45th + 4).

The game became wilder and more disjointed – Stuttgart’s Stenzel hit his opponent Mehlem in the face with his arm and was shown yellow-red for it. After around 70 minutes the first half was over. After the break, VfB concentrated primarily on defense, with Josha Vagnoman replacing the more attacking Jamie Leweling on the right. The Darmstadt team dominated the game, but rarely had compelling chances – like in the 59th minute, when Stuttgart’s Anton cleared the ball off the line.

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The longer the game lasted, the less relief the guests got. The majority of the 17,810 spectators at the Böllenfalltor whipped the lilies forward, but overall they remained too harmless. Instead, there were two more chances for VfB in the final phase: first Woo-yeong Jeong hit the post (88th), then Dahoud, on loan from England, made it 2-0. Seydel shortened the gap for the passionately fighting newcomer – nothing more was possible.

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