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Stuttgart, Augsburg relieve relegation worries

In what was probably the upset of round 29, lowly Augsburg shocked sixth-placed Frankfurt 2-0. Earlier on Sunday, Stuttgart's tepid attack woke up and earned a timely 2-0 win over Mönchengladbach.

Hosts Stuttgart were the more ambitious side right from the start, with Vedad Ibisevic drawing a fine save from Foals keep Marc-André ter Stegen in minute 11. A bit more than a quarter of an hour later, a Stuttgart free kick found its way though a crowd and into the net. The 1:0 was eventually ruled an own goal by Borussia Mönchengladbach defender Alvaro Dominguez.

There was no question of who netted Stuttgart's second goal in minute 34. Christian Gentner blew past a defender and then coolly chipped ter Stegen to double the hosts' advantage with aplomb.

For a team with a chance to stake a claim to the top six and another season of European competition, Gladbach were far too listless, and that didn't change after the restart. Instead Shinji Okazaki could have salted the win away fifteen minutes from time, when he too chipped ter Stegen. But the ball landed on the roof of the grateful young German's net.

Still Stuttgart killed the clock with ease to earn the 2-0 victory. They move up to twelfth in the table, while the Foals stay seventh.

"This match is good for us," Stuttgart coach Bruno Labbadia told reporters. "It's the first of three home games we have in a week, and it would be great if things continued this way."

Stuttgart face Freiburg in the semi-finals of the German Cup on Wednesday.

Augsburg bag huge win

Sunday’s late match saw relegation-threatened Augsburg host Europa League aspirants Frankfurt in a surprisingly one-sided affair.

Dong Won Ji of Augsburg scores his second goal

Dong Won Ji was the hero in Augsburg

Augsburg threw their weight around right from the start and were nearly rewarded on the quarter-of-an-hour mark, when captain Paul Verhaegh was sent through. His shot rattled the crossbar but rebounded out.

Twelve minutes later, though, Dong-Won Ji thumped in a shot that was slightly deflected to give the hosts the advantage.

Four minutes on, Augsburg had a golden chance to increase their lead when Takashi Inui brought down Verhaegh in the box. But Jan-Ingwer Callsen-Bracker sent the penalty well over.

Augsburg continued to create pressure and should have been at least 2 goals up at half-time. Ji had the ball in the net just before the break, but the goal was harshly disallowed when the referee ruled the Korean forward had gotten his foot up dangerously high.

Immediately after the restart, Frankfurt’s Carlos Zambrano slipped, handing an onrushing Sascha Mölders a golden chance. But the bullish forward pulled his shot wide. Ji, though, showed him how it’s done in minute 55, finding the net after Takashi Inui gave away the ball on the edge of the area.

The visitors had no clue how to break down Augsburg’s defense and had to accept the 2-0 defeat.

"We're taking it one game at a time," Augsburg midfielder Jan Moravek said after the match. "And if we do that, anything's possible, including staying up directly."

Frankfurt remain stalled in sixth place. Augsburg move up to third-last, three points clear of Hoffenheim in the battle to remain in the Bundesliga via the end-of-season playoff against the third-best team from division two.

Since the winter break, when they were languishing at the foot of the table, Augsburg have scored 18 points - the fifth-best showing of any Bundesliga team in the second half of the season.

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