Stuttgart have nabbed a narrow win away to Hertha Berlin in the Bundesliga's return to action since the international break. Christian Gentner's header just after halftime was the difference.
Stuttgart's positive league run under new coach Thomas Schneider continued Friday in Berlin. The visitors survived a dangerous Hertha attack thanks to goalkeeper Sven Ulreich and made the most of their chances to eke out a narrow away victory.
For most of the first half inside Berlin's Olympic Stadium, it was Hertha who were in control. Anis Ben-Hatira and new signing Per Skjelbred were particularly threatening on the wings, helping put goalkeeper Ulreich under pressure all match.
Opportunity after opportunity fell the hosts in the first 45 minutes, but it was Stuttgart midfielder Christian Gentner who had the best chance of the first half. Meeting an Alexandru Maxim corner at the near post, he snapped the ball on towards goal. But the effort drew an excellent save from Thomas Kraft, and the two sides went into the break scoreless.
Visitors pull ahead
Minutes after the restart, Stuttgart took an unexpected lead. Mirroring their opportunity from the first half, Gentner got his head on the end of a Maxim corner at the near post, but this time Kraft was unable to save it.
Hertha attempted to respond seconds later when Skjelbred got on the end of the cross in the box, but Ulreich was there to make one of his many excellent saves of the evening.
Shot after shot - some 19 in total - continued to come Ulreich's way. Defender John Anthony Brooks had perhaps Hertha's best opportunity of the half in the 66th minute when he headed a corner towards goal, but a quick save kept it at 1-0.
The hosts brought on attacking winger Sami Allagui late in the match in a last-ditch effort to equalize, but Stuttgart held on for the victory.
After an impressive 6-2 win over Hoffenheim before the international break, Friday was Stuttgart's second consecutive Bundesliga triumph since Schneider took over for Bruno Labbadia earlier this month.
The Bundesliga resumes again Saturday, with the marquee matchup featuring Borussia Dortmund at home to Hamburg.