Stuttgart have slipped up at home to Lazio, losing 2-0 to their Italian visitors in the first leg of the Europa League Round of 16. It's a disappointing loss for the competition's sole remaining German team.
Stuttgart went into Thursday evening's game not having won a game at home in the Europa League since the playoff phase. Bruno Labbadia's men had hopes of turning tides at the Mercedez-Benz Arena, but Lazio proved too much to handle.
Holding true to their home form, it was Stuttgart who conceded first. In the 21st minute, both William Kvist and Arthur Boka tried and failed to clear the ball from the box. It fell to Ederson on the right side of the area, and the Brazilian sent a left-footed volley low past Ulreich to make it 1-0.
Shortly thereafter, when going up for a header, Lazio midfielder Hernanes leapt over the back of Alexandru Maxim, hitting and breaking the Stuttgart midfielder's nose in the process. By the 41st minute it was clear he could play no further part, and Tamas Hajnal came on to replace him.
Maxim's exit was a tough blow for the hosts, as he had been one of the better players on the pitch to that point. Stuttgart Sporting Director Fredi Bobic said after the match the challenge was deserving of a red card, but the referee only awarded a yellow.
As the half drew to a close, Stuttgart nearly equalized through Shinji Okazaki. Federico Macheda's throw-in found Christian Gentner on the end-line, who volleyed a cross into the box. The Japanese midfielder sprawled for a diving header right in front of goal, but as he was all evening, Lazio goalkeeper Federico Marchetti was right there to save and ensure the first period of play finished 1-0.
Lazio score again
Eleven minutes into the second half, Lazio doubled their lead after a bounding run from Ogenyi Onazi, who picked up the ball at half field and beat several Stuttgart defenders as he marched down the center of the pitch and finished past Ulreich.
Not five minutes later, Okazaki again came close for the hosts after pirouetting his man on the edge of the area, but he finished just wide.
As the half wore on it looked increasingly unlikely that Stuttgart, who controlled the majority of possession during the match, would score and the evening ended 2-0.
The win was Lazio's first against a Bundesliga opponent on German soil. The Italians remain unbeaten this season in the Europa League and have conceded just once.
Stuttgart, meanwhile, have made a mountain for themselves to climb in the second leg. Should the Bundesliga side fail to overcome that hurdle, there would be no German teams remaining in the competition.
The Swabians are not out of it yet, though, as the side have won three out of four European games on the road this season. But they will still have to make history if they have any hopes of progressing. Lazio have never lost to a German side in Rome.