2. Bundesliga Report – Stuttgart 0-0 Osnabrück: Die Roten sleepwalk to goalless draw

Stuttgart Osnabruck Bundesliga 2

VfB Stuttgart were utterly uninspired in a drab goalless draw with VfL Osnabrück in the 2. Bundesliga on Sunday.

Die Roten struggled to create any chances, with the best opportunity falling to the visitors, with Benjamin Girth contriving to hit the post when it would have been easier to score.

Stuttgart remain second but fail to make the most of Arminia Bielefeld drawing on Saturday, and Hamburger SV could overtake them on Monday night.

Stuttgart attack too blunt

“We got into the game well in the first and second halves. In the second half, however, we quickly lost the structure and order,” felt Stuttgart coach Pellegrino Matarazzo as he dissected their performance. “We continue to struggle to create high-quality opportunities against passionate and deep opponents,” he continued, feeling his side had lacked “courage” and “pace.”

Whilst his side are one of the strongest, if not the strongest, in the league, their attacking players were thoroughly underwhelming here. Nicólas González couldn’t find the sparkle that inspired the win over Hamburg, whilst Philipp Förster and Hamadi Al Ghaddioui lacked the quality you’d expect at a side that feels it should be in the Bundesliga.

Matarazzo did try to change things in the second half, bringing on every attacking option he had available to him on the bench, but that did little to stop the structural problems he talked about after the game.

On the other hand, Osnabrück coach Thioune said that he was “delighted” to have picked up a point. They have managed to stay unbeaten against Stuttgart this season, having won 1-0 at home in November, although they missed an edge up front as well, with Marcos Álvarez, who had scored the winner last time, suspended.

Girth closest to breaking deadlock

They were also without Assan Ceesay, who was injured, with Etienne Amenyido playing up front, although his game was ended early after being trud on, perhaps accidentally, by Watruo Endo. Konstantin Engel made his first start in over a year as part of a back four. For Stuttgart, Holger Badstuber returned in place of Marc-Oliver Kempf following suspension.

Stuttgart were the better side in the first half but lacked the threat in attack to be able to make the most of that. The first real chance came from the visitors, with Niklas Schmidt heading wide, before González had Stuttgart’s first opportunity. His header wasn’t on goal, but Al Ghaddioui couldn’t meet it at the far post either.

That was largely the theme of the first 45 minutes, as Die Roten lacked the quality to convert their chances. Ulrich Taffertshofer almost putting a González ball into his own net was one of their nearest opportunities, whilst Förster had a header saved by Philipp Kühn and Orel Mangala was also denied by the Osnabrück goalkeeper.

The best chance of all came at the other end though. Benjamin Girth, not in the squad in the last two games and off the bench to replace Amenyido here, was presented the perfect chance by Schmidt, whose pass took out Gregor Kobel. The net was at his mercy, Girth could only hit the post. If it was any consolation, he had been offside anyway.

Matarazzo changes don’t improve things

The half-time break didn’t disrupt the pattern of the game. Kühn had been the star for Osnabrück in the victory earlier in the season, but despite being brought into action regularly, including a save from an Al Ghaddioui header, everything he did was pretty routine.

Matarazzo brought on Philipp Klement and Silas Wamangituka to try to freshen things up, but it made no immediate difference, nor did bringing on Darko Churlinov and Sasa Kalajdzic. Endo, one of the shortest men on the pitch, did head wide, whilst a Gonzalo Castro shot went the same way. But there was not much else to show for their efforts.

The last to come on was Mario Gómez, his first appearance in three games, as Matarazzo tried to throw everything at Osnabrück. Yet with four strikers now on the pitch, they still looked lifeless. In fact it was the visitors that came closest in stoppage time, with a counter attack ending with Marc Heider’s shot deflected out wide.

Results may have gone their way this weekend but they will have to refind their attacking flair if they are to win one of the automatic promotion places. For Osnabrück, this is an important point in their battle against relegation, especially with so many teams above them picking up wins this weekend.

Stuttgart: Kobel; Stenzel (Churlinov 75’), Badstuber, Kaminski, Mola (Wamangituka 61’); Endo, Castro, Mangala (Klement 61’); Förster (Gómez 85’), Al Ghaddioui (Kalajdzic 75’), González.

Osnabrück: Kühn; Ajdini, Gugganig, Trapp, Engel (Agu 60‘); Taffertshofer, Blacha (Köhler 90+1’0, Heyer; Henning, Schmidt (Ouahim 60‘); Amenyido (Girth 30‘ (Heider 90+1’)).

Referee: Tobias Welz.

Elsewhere on Sunday

Hannover 96 did a favour for Stuttgart and the rest of the top three with a 2-1 victory over 1. FC Heidenheim. Marvin Ducksch and Edgar Prib scored their goals in the first half, with Stefan Schimmer getting what was only a consolation in the end for Heidenheim.

FC Erzgebirge Aue meanwhile helped out the side at the bottom with a 1-0 victory over Karlsruher SC, who remain in the bottom three. Florian Krüger scored the only goal early on for Dirk Schuster’s side.

Published by jamesrees1989

Football writer. 2. Bundesliga geek. Ex-Football Radar, VAVEL, Read Bundesliga. Tweets at @germanpyramid and @OxonFootball.

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