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Bundesliga: Short-handed Stuttgart and Cologne get victories

A last-minute winner continues Stuttgart's charge back up the table. They're now off the bottom and without a defeat in three home games. Earlier, Cologne beat Hoffenheim 3-2 in a dramatic match.

Stuttgart 3-2 Bremen

(Gentner 15', Ginczek 70', 91' - Selke 50', Vestergaard 86')

A nervous Stuttgart got off to a slow start against Bremen but were lifted by a moment of inspiration after a quarter of an hour. Captain Christian Gentner took the ball on the half-volley and launched a screamer into the net.

The visitors were shocked and nearly conceded a second goal in the subsequent minutes, but Stuttgart failed to make the decisive contact with the ball. The match settled into a holding pattern, and the hosts took a 1-0 advantage into the dressing rooms.

Bremen coach Viktor Skripnik brought on young forward Davie Selke, who incurred the wrath of Bremen fans for choosing to head to division-two RB Leipzig next year , and the substitution paid immediate dividends. In minute 50, Clemens Fritz served up a perfect cross, and the German youth national headed in the equalizer.

Martin Harnik could and should have put Stuttgart back in front on the hour mark but missed two sitters within the space of roughly a minute. But he got a bit of redemption 10 minutes later, feeding an assist for a Daniel Ginczek header. Bremen keeper Raphael Wolf made a clueless foray forward to leave the goal wide open.

Harnik completed a very up-and-down day by getting himself sent off with a second yellow card in the final 10 minutes. It was a costly mistake in judgment, as Bremen's Yannick Verstergaard headed in a leveler.

But Ginczek rescued Stuttgart's, and in particular Harnik's, bacon with an injury time goal after getting onto the end of a Serey Dié pass. His goal sealed an unlikely 3-2 win for Stuttgart that took them out of last place in the table for the first time in what feels like an eon.

Bundesliga Köln Hoffenheim Tor Hector

Jonas Hector sealed a crucial win in what became a very tight match

Cologne 3-2 Hoffenheim

(Lehmann 19', Ujah 54', Hector 78' - Polanski 70' pen, Modeste 84')

Cologne were the slight underdogs in Sunday's early match against Hoffenheim, and they almost fell behind after 40 seconds, needing help from the crossbar to keep the score sheet clean. After that, though, it was all Billy Goats, as the hosts made their home-field advantage pay.

Two minutes later, Cologne fans felt they were robbed, when Yuya Osako went down in the box after contact, but no penalty was awarded. They got their spot kick 17 minutes on, after Emir Bicakcic brought down Osako from behind. Matthias Lehmann did the honors to put Cologne ahead with his sixth spot-kick of the season.

The hosts were content to cede the majority of possession to the visitors but remained the more dangerous side. And 10 minutes after the restart the industrious Osako put Anthony Ujah through on a counter-attack and the striker beat Hoffenheim keeper Oliver Baumann at the near post.

Twenty minutes from time, it looked as though the course of the match might change dramatically. Cologne defender Pawel Olkowski conceded a penalty and got sent off for tripping up Anthony Modeste. Eugen Polanski was perfect from the spot.

It was left to newly capped German international Jonas Hector to restore the advantage for the 10-men hosts. After a slaloming run through a neglectful Hoffenheim defense, his shot deflected off Bicakcic into the net.

Hoffenheim had one last roll of the dice when Modeste headed in a corner two minutes from time, but there were too few ticks left on the clock for the visitors to salvage a point. Hoffenheim remain seventh in the table with a shot at the Europa League while Cologne move up to eleventh.

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