Stuttgart have drawn 0-0 with visitors Kaiserslautern in the Friday evening Bundesliga match. That stretches Kaiserslautern's winless run to 15 league games. The Red Devils are rock bottom as a result.
Europa League hopefuls Stuttgart dominated proceedings against Kaiserslautern in the Friday fixture, but could not break the deadlock and secure three points in their fight to climb higher than eighth in the league table. Despite the best efforts of attackers like Cacau, Vedad Ibisevic, Shinji Okazaki, Martin Harnik and his eventual replacement Julian Schieber, Stuttgart were unable to continue their recent attacking purple patch, in which they had scored 18 goals over their previous six league matches.
"Kaiserslautern defended incredibly deep, and as a result we didn't get that many chances going forward," Martin Harnik said after the game. The Austrian international said the disappointing draw wouldn't deter the club's ambitions to qualify for European football next season. "We missed out on two points today, obviously, but there's still a long road ahead."
Home fans might well have expected three points from this encounter with the worst-placed team in the Bundesliga, but Stuttgart learned Kaiserslautern's open secret: if they could just start hitting the net, their relegation worries might disappear.
Resolute, but barren
Luckless 'Lautern are actually the sixth-best defensive side in the league, bettered in the "goals conceded" category only by the four frontrunners and mid-table Hoffenheim. With an abysmal 16 goals scored from 25 matches, however, the Red Devils are the most impotent side in the Bundesliga - by quite a distance.
Although they had scored in just two of their last eight league games, they had a few chances against the largely dominant Stuttgart. Captain and talisman Christian Tiffert hit the side netting shortly before the hour mark, while defender Florian Dick pounced on a loose ball from a corner and volleyed inches wide with the very last kick of the match.
Kaiserslautern sit bottom of the league with just 20 points, a situation that cannot change over the weekend. Drawing 11 matches so far - only seventh-placed Hannover has tied that often - shows Kaiserslautern's ability to compete in the Bundesliga, but as Tiffert put it after the match, "we're just not getting those three points."
Most of the top four sides play at home this weekend. Bayern Munich host Hoffenheim on Saturday, while Borussia Mönchengladbach entertain cellar-dwellers Freiburg, and on Sunday, Schalke face Hamburg in Gelsenkirchen. League leaders Borussia Dortmund have to take to the road but there's a silver lining to that cloud - they are travelling to 16th-placed Augsburg for the Saturday evening game.
In the other Saturday games, Bayer Leverkusen head east to Wolfsburg, Cologne host Hertha Berlin and Mainz entertain Nuremberg, while Werder Bremen welcome Hannover for an enticing Sunday afternoon match. Bremen sit sixth while Hannover are seventh in the table, so these European hopefuls are liable to go at it hammer and tongs.
Author: Mark Hallam
Editor: Andreas Illmer