Sunday, August 7, 2011

VfB Stuttgart vs. FC Schalke 04: Match Report

VfB Stuttgart vs. FC Schalke 04

               Date and Time: August 6, 2011 2:30pm BST        Referee:Wolfgang Stark    
                Stadium: Mercedes-Benz-Arena – Stuttgart        Attendance: 60,000          
VfB Stuttgart          3          -          0          FC Schalke 04
                                               37’ Cacau

                                         56’ Martin Harnik

                                         89’ Shinji Okazaki

Match Report

Stuttgart produced a worthy performance to secure a resounding 3-0 win over Schalke in the opening week of the Bundesliga season. Stuttgart extended their good run of form against last season’s UEFA Champions League semi-finalists with a convincing win.

Stuttgart dominated the early stages and nearly opened the scoring in the 12th minute when Martin Harnik’s shot was saved off the line by Schalke keeper, Ralf Fahrmann. But after chances from both Schalke’s Kyriakos Papadopoulos and Raul, Stuttgart finally took lead in the 37th minute when Cacau headed home from near range. From a corner, Francisco Javier Rodriguez headed the ball and it looked as if it was going wide, but Cacau’s quick instincts redirected the ball into the net.

On the stroke of half-time, the goal scorer found Harnik on the edge of the area but his shot was brilliantly saved again by Fahrmann. Stuttgart went into the break with a 1-0 lead, but could’ve found themselves with many more goals after controlling the first half.

Eleven minutes after half-time, the home side scored a 2nd goal which left their opponents all but defeated. From a quick free kick, Cristian Molinaro paced down the left wing and delivered the ball into Austrian, Martin Harnik to put Stuttgart 2-0 up. But the visitors were much better in the 2nd half as substitutes, Julian Draxler and Jan Moravek, twice tested Sven Ulreich in the Stuttgart goal.

Schalke had plenty of possession in the 2nd half, but their high defensive line was exploited by Stuttgart as Cacau missed a pair of opportunities and Christian Genter saw his chip sail wide. The hosts finally got the 3rd goal they deserved late on in the game as Japanese substitute, Shinji Okazaki, scored a fantastic 18 yard strike to round off an impressive result.

Following their win, Stuttgart go level with Wolfsburg at the top of the Bundesliga table. Schalke are currently tied bottom with Koln, but have more than enough time to improve for the rest of the season.

My Man of the Match: Serdar Tasci (VfB Stuttgart)

VfB Stuttgart: Sven Ulreich, Khalid Bouhlarouz, William Kvist Jorgensen, Cristian Molinaro, Serdar Tasci, Francisco Javier Rodriguez, Zdravko Kuzmanovic, Tamas Hajnal, Christian Genter, Martin Harnik, Cacau. Substitutes: Ibrahima Traore, Shinji Okazaki, Pavel Pogrebnyak. Not used: Marc Ziegler, Arthur Boka, Stefano Celozzi, Patrick Bauer.

FC Schalke 04: Ralf Fahrmann, Benedikt Howedes, Kyriakos Papadopoulos, Christian Fuchs, Marco Hoger, Jermaine Jones, Joel Matip, Alexander Baumjohann, Lewis Holtby, Raul, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar. Substitutes: Julian Draxler, Jan Moravek, Edu. Not used: Lars Unnerstall, Atsuto Uchida, Christoph Metzelder, Peer Kluge.

Written by Amir Nawaz

Twitter: @amir_nawaz