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Mainz 05
M. Ingvartsen (23)
W. Endo (41), S. Guirassy (64), C. Führich (78), T. Coulibaly (90)

Super sub Führich guides Stuttgart to crucial win in Mainz

By Ultan Corcoran   @UltanCorcoran

VfB Stuttgart travelled to Mainz to pop the cork on the Bundesliga’s Sunday action for Matchday 33. Bo Svensson’s side, who have enjoyed a stellar season thus far, opted to rotate their usual starting line-up.

Finn Dahmen entered between the sticks for his final home game as a Mainz player. Meanwhile, Karim Onisiwo led the line knowing a goal would make him the club’s all-time Bundesliga top scorer.

For the Swabians, illness for Croatian talisman Borna Sosa was the last thing fans wanted to hear prior to kick-off. However, Stuttgart came from behind to secure a crucial 3-1 win, which sees them rise to 15th in the table.
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Photo: Jeollo, Vfb-exklusiv.de, CC BY-SA 3.0
Stuttgart stood firm throughout the opening 20 minutes – martialling the Mainz attack and dominating possession albeit lacking the decisive final ball. Luck would swiftly run out however, as Marcus Ingvartsen struck for 1-0. A da Costa corner found its way to Onisiwo at the near post. The Austrian’s flick struck the unaware Endo as the ball bounced perfectly into the path of Ingvartsen to smash home.

Endo would make amends for his contribution towards the Mainz goal when he levelled matters four minutes from the break. A lightning quick break from Silas created the space for the skipper. As he held off Barkok, the Congolese winger cut the ball back to the penalty area’s edge and Endo blasted home with a delicate instep finish.

There was a cautious approach to the second-half, particularly from the visitors given their top flight existence lay on the line. Trainers are there to make big decisions and Hoeneß’ introduction of Chris Führich after the hour made an instant impact. The substitute’s corner was met by Guirassy who powered his header beyond Dahmen.

Hoeneß’ Swabian super-sub would strike again in the 78th minute leaving the visitors 3-1 up and on the brink of a vital win. Karazor retrieved possession in midfield and Endo orchestrated the rest. The latter unleashed Führich who cut inside Bell and curled home inside the box. At the other end, Bredlow was a man possessed between the Stuttgart sticks.

A breakneck double save to deny Stach and Ajorque in a matter of seconds proved decisive. The game was put to bed at the death as Führich pounced on some slack defending to tee up Coulibaly. A 4-1 win that could prove pivotal in Stuttgart’s survival race.

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