VfB Stuttgart took a huge step
towards securing a European spot next season by crushing Werder
Bremen 4-1 on Friday to tighten their hold on fifth spot in the
Bundesliga with three games to go.
Three goals in 16 minutes, including two from Austria
international Martin Harnik, sank eighth-placed Werder who could
now miss out on European football for the second consecutive
Stuttgart, who have gone nine games without defeat, are five
points ahead of Bayer Leverkusen and Hannover 96. Fifth position
at the end of the campaign would earn a spot in the Europa
"I am usually more reserved but tonight I have to say that
it was a really super match we played," Stuttgart coach Bruno
Labbadia told reporters.
"We put them under pressure from the start. It is a very
satisfactory feeling for a coach."
Injury-hit Werder, missing eight players, took the lead when
Markus Rosenberg connected with a Marko Marin cross from the
right after 25 minutes.
It did not take long for the hosts to level, Christian
Gentner curling an unstoppable 20-metre shot past goalkeeper Tim
Wiese in the 37th.
Stuttgart top scorer Harnik headed in from close range on
the stroke of half-time before adding his 17th league goal of the
season from a Tamas Hajnal cross eight minutes after the
Substitute Cacau sealed the win a minute from time, heading
in after being left unmarked in the box.
"That second goal just before the break was unnecessary,"
said Werder coach Thomas Schaaf. "It became very difficult after
"Stuttgart were brimming with confidence and we were far too
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