VfB Stuttgart missed the opportunity to leapfrog Hamburger SV into second place in the 2. Bundesliga as Die Roten were held to a 1-1 by Darmstadt on Monday night.
The hosts took the lead against the run of play on 20 minutes through Tobias Kempe’s third goal of the season.
Borna Sosa’s equaliser for the visitors on the stroke of half-time was expected to galvanise the 2006-07 Bundesliga champions on their way to a second half victory.
Aside from a goal ruled out midway through the second period, Tim Walter’s side rarely looked like taking the lead. Aside from Croatian Sosa, most of the Stuttgart players put in another disappointing performance on the road. They have now gone four away games without a victory since beating Arminia Bielefeld 1-0 at the Bielefelder Alm at the end of October.
The result leaves Stuttgart in third, behind HSV on goal difference, with both teams four points behind surprise leaders Arminia.
VfB Stuttgart’s final game before the winter break is on Saturday when they travel to Hannover 96. The Red Shorts are down in 14th position in the table, below Darmstadt on goal difference, with both teams six points above the automatic relegation places.