VfB Stuttgart pulled off an incredible second half comeback to score a dramatic stoppage time winner and leapfrog HSV into second place in a thrilling game at the Mercedes-Benz Arena on Thursday night.
Neither side had won either of their two games back since the 2. Bundesliga returned nearly a fortnight ago with Stuttgart losing both and Hamburg drawing both as they failed to gain ground on leaders Arminia Bielefeld.
The visitors look set to do that when they went in at half-time with a 2-0 lead courtesy of Joel Pohjanpalo’s header after quarter-of-an-hour to give Dieter Hecking’s side the lead.
Hamburg were given the opportunity to double their lead in first half stoppage time from the penalty spot and Aaron Hunt did just that.
The hosts had offered little in the first half but showed a lot of energy immediately after the break. They were rewarded inside two minutes of the restart when Wataru Endo headed home from a corner. The Japanese international continued to find himself unmarked from corners for the rest of the game.
Stuttgart were awarded a somewhat controversial penalty on the hour when Orel Mangala throw himself over goalkeeper Daniel Fernandes. The referee awarded it none-the-less and VAR didn’t want another look. Nicolas Gonzalez converted to make it 2-2.
Hamburg would have another spell on possession and territory for 10 minutes but the final pass was always missing as Gregor Kobel wasn’t too busy in the second half.
Nicolas Gonzalez was the stand out player of the game and when the Argentine got beyond the defenders down the left wing it spelled trouble for the visitors. That would be confirmed when he cut the ball back for Gonzalo Castro to poke home the winner from a couple of yards in the first minute of stoppage time.
Victory moves Stuttgart up into second place in the second tier, five points behind Arminia Bielefeld and two above Hamburger SV. There’s a quick turnaround for these sides as they are back in action again on Sunday – Stuttgart away to bottom of the league Dynamo Dresden and Hamburg host Wehen Wiesbaden, who are also in the relegation zone.