Stuttgart overcame a dismal Borussia Dortmund side 2-1 to remain third in the Bundesliga table. After a quiet start, the game would come to life after ten minutes, as Deniz Undav raced towards goal before being taken down by Gregor Kobel. The subsequent penalty would be saved by the Swiss international, as he became the first Dortmund goalkeeper to save a penalty in the Bundesliga for ten years. However, despite giving away a penalty, Kobel became Dortmund’s saviour in the first half, as he would make save after save to deny his former employers what could have been a commanding lead.
Then, against the run of play, Kobel’s outstanding performance in goal would be rewarded, as Julian Ryerson found Niclas Füllkrug unmarked at the back post to tap the visitors in front. However, as BvB looked to be heading into halftime with an undeserved 1-0 lead, Undav would come back to haunt them. The Brighton loanee would calmly place Stuttgart back on level terms after latching onto Jamie Leweling’s through ball to restore parity.
After the interval, the drama would subside as Stuttgart failed to transfer their dominant first-half display into the second. Regardless, Dortmund continued to falter, and the return of Serhou Guirassy would change the game. By converting Stuttgart’s second spot kick of the game, the Malian international ensured Die Roten came away with a deserved three points while simultaneously ending Dortmund’s title hopes.
After surviving relegation to the 2. Bundesliga through the play-off against Hamburg at the end of last season, Stuttgart would have been looking for a far less dramatic campaign this year. Nevertheless, the drama has continued, but at the other end of the Bundesliga table.
Despite faltering in the last few weeks, hopes were still high that Sebastian Hoeneß’s side would refind their phenomenal early-season form as Dortmund came to town. Thankfully for the home support, they would not be disappointed as Stuttgart played Die Schwarzgelben off the park. With 16 shots to Dortmund’s two in the first-half, the hosts were unfortunate to not be heading into the break with a commanding lead.
Nevertheless, after the interval, Dortmund could not come up with any answers. Angelo Stiller controlled the game from midfield, while Jamie Leweling and Chris Führich tormented BvB out wide. The quality and confidence amongst Hoeneß’s side is remarkable, and it could become a serious problem for the rest of the league. Despite their recent problems, Stuttgart have reminded the Bundesliga why they are Champions League hopefuls and, with Guirassy back, potentially title challengers.
While the 2023/24 Bundesliga season is just eleven games old, Bayern Munich and Bayer Leverkusen are threatening to make the race for the Meisterschale a two-horse race. This had appeared to become a possibility after Der Rekordmeister humiliated BvB at the Westfalenstadion last Saturday with a 4-0 win in Der Klassiker.
Nevertheless, as third met fourth, there was a sense that defeat for either side would have truly ended their title hopes, as a win for Leverkusen on Sunday would open up a ten-point gap between them and the losing side. However, while Stuttgart get back to winning ways, it is Dortmund who will feel as though their race has already been run before the Hinrunde comes to a close.
A dismal first-half performance was made to look far better by Stuttgart’s lacklustre finishing and the clinical Niclas Füllkrug, but they would fail to improve after the interval. The remarkable performance against Newcastle was nowhere to be seen, and they offered as little as they did in Der Klassiker. Another Kobel error allowed Guriassy to win the tie for Stuttgart, as Dortmund’s lack of quality and energy was taken advantage of. While they may dazzle in Europe, Edin Terzić’s side underwhelm in the Bundesliga, and their title dreams appear shattered.
With 14 goals in just eight Bundesliga games, Serhou Guirassy has quickly established himself as one of the most dangerous strikers in Europe. His irresistible start to the season has seen Stuttgart rise from relegation candidates to European hopefuls.
However, after picking up a hamstring injury against Union Berlin in late October, Die Roten had fallen to back-to-back defeats, leaving them seven points away from league leaders Bayer Leverkusen. Nevertheless, with Guirassy back on the bench for the visit of Dortmund, Die Roten would blow their visitors away in the first-half. But without their star striker, they failed to find the killer blow.
With one goal from 16 attempts, Stuttgart could have and should have been home and dry. Regardless, once Guirassy entered the pitch, there was an air of inevitability around what would happen next. Silas won another penalty for the hosts, and after missing their last three spot kicks, Guirassy kept his cool. The Malian international’s 15th goal of the season upon his return has emphasised his importance to this side as Stuttgart bounce back from their recent struggles.
GGFN | Will Shopland