Matthias Sammer's Stuttgart went top of the Bundesliga on Saturday after a 2-0 win over the coach's former team. At times efficient, at others exciting, VfB looked the complete package and deserving league leaders.
Alex Hleb dominated the midfield and was a constant threat to BVB
Matthias Sammer's first duel against his ex-club Borussia Dortmund ended in victory in the Gottlieb Daimler Stadium as Stuttgart beat BVB 2-0 to go top of the Bundesliga and stretch their unbeaten run.
Goals from Andreas Hinkel and Cacau heaped more misery on Dortmund who had been under a cloud for most of the week after financial reports gave them the dubious honor of being the most in-debt club ever in the history of the Bundesliga. While the club slipped further in the red, it was all white as far as this game went with Dortmund chasing Stuttgart ghosts for much of the 90 minutes.
In front of 48,000 spectators in the sold out stadium, the hosts battled hard to break down what was an extremely defensive BVB team. However, there were chances in the first 45 minutes with midfield maestro Alexander Hleb, Silvio Meissner and Cacau all going close with efforts in the first half.
Weak BVB failed to ignite
Dortmund was only dangerous at set pieces with balls lofted into giant Czech striker Jan Koller who manage to escape the constant attentions of his minder for the afternoon, Markus Babbel, to threaten only sporadically and to little effect. The Brazilian Ewerthon and Sunday Oliseh will also be ruing the chances they squandered before half-time.
After the break, VfB weathered an early gust rather than a storm, as BVB blew hot for a few minutes before being overwhelmed again by the surging runs of Hleb and Phillipp Lahm. A defensive slip in the 52nd minute allowed Hinkel to stride forward into the gap in front of the BVB area and unleash a wicked shot to claim his first ever Bundesliga goal.
Kuranyi's return heralds killer blow
Stuttgart's Cacau from Brazil rises above Dortmund's Guy Demel.
Sixteen minutes later, after the return of Kevin Kuranyi from injury, Stuttgart were two up. Kuranyi showed no signs of the knee injury which had ruled him out for four weeks when he skinned the BVB defense to slide a pass to Cacau in the area. It took two touches, one to turn the defenders on each shoulder and the other to lift the bullet shot high into the net past Warmuz, to put the game beyond Dortmund.
With Werder Bremen and Bayern Munich both losing and league leaders Wolfsburg playing on Sunday, Stuttgart went top -- at least until Sunday night. On the strength of this performance, which also saw Timo Hildebrand extend his clean sheet to 502 minutes without a goal against him, Stuttgart look good value for money at the top of the league.