Germany: Bundesliga
FT
2 - 1
(1 - 0)
Stuttgart
Gladbach
S. Guirassy (22), T. Coulibaly (83)
J. Weigl (78), K. Itakura (82)
By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

15:30 Kickoffs: Stuttgart pull themselves out of relegation territory, Freiburg draw level with Union

While there weren't all that many goals scored in the latest set of Bundesliga 15:30 kickoffs, tension remained rife across the Bundesrepublik as none of the five second-half kickoffs entered injury time with any team in command of a multi-goal-lead. 

The wait for the full-time whistle proved perhaps most agonizing at the Mercedes Benz Arena, where VfB Stuttgart fans had to sit through over nine minutes of added time before a crucial victory for their team was confirmed.

Stuttgart, thanks to a 2-1 win over Borussia Mönchengladbach, are now out of the relegation zone and cannot be caught by Bochum, Schalke, or Hertha this weekend. 

Elsewhere, wins for SC Freiburg and RB Leipzig put both clubs on course for Champions' League football. Freiburg are now even level on points with 1. FC Union Berlin for third place after die Eisernen failed to best Leverkusen at home. 
Sebastian Hoeneß remains undefeated through five matches in charge of VfB Stuttgart after his BaWü boys pulled out a critical victory over Daniel Farke's Borussia Mönchengladbach Saturday afternoon at the Mercedes Benz Arena. The Swabians are now out of the relegation zone on goal differential on 28 points. Bochum, having already played, are on the relegation place with the same points total. Even should they win their own matches, Schalke and Hertha cannot escape the drop zone this weekend.

VfB trainer Hoeneß made two changes to the XI that drew Augsburg 1-1 last Friday night. Hiroki Ito had to sit out on an accumulated yellow-card suspension. Luckily for the Swabians, Konstantinos Mavropanos was himself returning from suspension and could take the Japanese international's place. Hoeneß also opted for Silas over Chris Führich on the left-hand attacking side of his preferred 3-4-3.

BMG trainer Farke had some enforced changes to make. The unavailability of Marcus Thuram, Manu Koné, and Ramy Bensebaini meant that Alassane Plea, Nathan Ngoumou, and Luca Netz had to slide into Farke's 4-3-2-1. Additionally - after a string of week performances - American right-back Joe Scally was given a rest. Stefan Lainer took the Long Island native's place.

Both teams took a little while to wake up in what was initially a mistake-laden affair. The hosting Württembergers did manage do generate some pressure around the ten-minute-mark, but still seemed far too unpolished to be near an opening goal. VfB striker Serhou Guirassy appealed for a penalty in the 14th when BMG keeper Jonas Omlin clearly took him out. Guirassy's offside position unfortunately negated the foul.

Guirasy and the Stuttgart attack nevertheless kept at it. In the 22nd, Hoeneß' lead-striker would score a goal that counted. A cheeky heel-finish from Guirassy was initially chalked off due to an offside position by Enzo Millot in the build-up. Video review confirmed that it was Florian Neuhaus who had redirected the ball. Thus, the 1-0 was made official after a short delay.

The scoreline held until it was time to head into the tunnel. This despite the fact that the hosts were largely dominant. Silas and Millot squandered some good opportunities. The Westphalian guests mounted a very fleeting period of attacking muster around the half-hour-mark, but were otherwise harmless. Gladbach came out a little more courageously after the restart, with Jonas Hofmann fluffing an opportunity in the 49th.

Guirassy regrettably found himself unable to continue ten minutes into the second half after a smack in the face from Lars Stindl left him with a cut above his right eye. Tiago Tomas replaced the Frenchman at the center-forward position. The substitute had some problems finding the finish even as his teammates were able to find space and work some useful balls into him.

Twelve minutes from time, Gladbach were able to draw level from the spot when VfB defender Dan-Axel Zagadou handled a ball in the area. Julian Weigl duly converted the handball penalty in the 78th for the 1-1. Moments later, Stuttgart were awarded their own penalty. Josha Vagnoman did well to play Tomas into the box. The Portuguese sub was hauled down by Ko Itakura. Referee Tobias Welz pointed to the spot.

Tanguy Coulibaly stepped forward to take his first ever penalty in the Bundesliga. The 22-year-old was made to wait when Welz was called back to have another look at the foul by the VAR team. The additional review produced a straight red card for Itakura. Coulibaly, to his credit, kept his nerve after the delay and slotted home the 2-1 cooly in the 83rd.

The home-town crowd were forced to wait though ten full minutes of injury time before the win was confirmed. Coulibaly appeared to nearly have completed a scorer's brace with a strike off the post on a play that was offside anyway at 90+1. VfB keeper Fabian Bredlow had to make a strong save on Gladbach sub Samir Teleovic at 90+5. Coulibaly was denied a brace again by a blocked shot at 90+7.

Elsewhere in the Bundesliga's 15:30 kickoffs, RB Leipzig were able to shake off their recent form woes and prevail 1-0 over TSG 1899 Hoffenheim in the match Germans refer to as "El Plastico". Christopher Nkunku was back in the RB starting XI and scored what would prove the game-winning goal in the 28th. Both sides spurned several other excellent chances to find the back of the net, but the final scoreline still held.

Leipzig remain out of the top-four, however, as Christian Streich's SC Freiburg were also able to capture all three points from their trip to the cathedral city. Ritsu Doan scored the game winner in the 1-0 victory off a set-piece in the 58th. Freiburg even draw level with 1. FC Union Berlin for third place in the table after Urs Fischer's Eisernen could only manage a 0-0 draw against Leverkusen at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei.

Eintracht Frankfurt and FC Augsburg also couldn't be separated in a 1-1 draw at Deutsche Bank Park. Enrico Maaßen's Fuggerstädter shook off an Elvis Rexhbecaj own-goal in the first half and fought back to take a point off the RheinMain Adler. The draw at least gave 13th-placed Augsburg 31 points on the season. Relegation rivals Hoffenheim, Bochum, and Stuttgart can only overtake them with a win.

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