SV Wehen Wiesbaden have won their first game back following the interruption to the Bundesliga 2 season. The Red & Blacks, playing the first behind-closed-doors match in their history, claimed a 2-1 (0-0) victory over VfB Stuttgart courtesy of strikes from Manuel Schäffler (50) and Phillip Tietz (90+7). Nicolas Gonzalez (84) got the goal for the visitors.
Following the two-and-a-half-month break to the campaign, SVWW head coach Rüdiger Rehm fielded the same starting XI that picked up three points in the last game away in Osnabrück nine weeks ago.
It was the visitors from Stuttgart who made the brighter start, however. Having won the ball back in the fourth minute, Daniel Didavi picked out Nicolas Gonzalez with a pass – but Mario Gomez was unable to convert his cross thanks to an outstanding save from Heinz Lindner, who denied the visitors an early opener.
VfB were in control of the match in the opening stages, with Gomez having a goal correctly ruled out for offside on the eight-minute mark and missing the danger zone completely with a wayward cross-cum-shot two minutes later.
SVWW sought to give their opponents no time on the ball but often went into the challenges a split-second too late. Stuttgart, meanwhile, looked slightly more alert and agile – although the Swabians created little of note in front of goal.
In fact, it was not until the 26th minute that SVWW shot-stopper Lindner was required to showcase his ability between the sticks. Wataru Endo had a shot from distance but the Austrian dealt with it comfortably – as he did with a subsequent attempt from Gonzalez a minute later.
Having battled their way back into the match thanks to their defensive solidity and hard-running approach, SVWW created their first real goalscoring opportunity on the half-hour mark. Maximilian Dittgen sprinted down the left flank and crossed the ball towards the penalty area, but Paterson Chato fired a matter of centimetres over the frame of the goal (29).
By this point, the Red & Blacks were totally on their game. With their tough tackling and counter-attacking threat, they made life increasingly difficult for their Swabian visitors going forward. At the back, meanwhile, Rehm's charges hardly allowed their opponents a sight of goal. And when the away side did manage to get in behind the back five, Lindner proved to be a safe pair of hands between the sticks – denying Gomez in a one-on-one situation in the 38th minute.
At the other end, Daniel-Kofi Kyereh met a diagonal ball with a spectacular volley in the 41st minute but fired narrowly wide of Stuttgart custodian Gregor Kobel's goal. As did Ditten with a shot from distance only two minutes later. With no goals on the board, the half-time whistle sounded moments later.
Neither SVWW tactician Rehm nor his Stuttgart counterpart Pelegrino Matarazzo initially made any personnel changes, and the second period began in a similar fashion to the first. The Swabians made another bright start and had the first chance through Didavi, but the SVWW rearguard cleared the danger just outside the six-yard box.
The Red & Blacks did not need as long to find their feet this time around. Manuel Schäffler fired his first shot of the match from 12 metres out over the bar in the 49th minute. He did make the net bulge less than 60 seconds later, however, rounding off a wonderful move that involved Stefan Aigner, Dittgen and Aigner again to open the scoring on the 50-minute mark.
The visitors, spurred on after conceding the opener, started to pile on the pressure and sought to pin SVWW back in their own half. But despite their efforts, the men wearing the famous red hoop on their chest rarely found themselves in promising positions in front of goal and were largely limited to efforts from distance that lacked precision.
Rehm's charges battled combatively, defending with everything they had and repeatedly countering dangerously as the Swabians pushed forward. Kyereh had a huge opportunity to double the advantage, but opted to square the ball towards substitute Jeremias Loch who did not strike it properly (71).
Stuttgart would not let up, with Philipp Förster narrowly missing the opportunity to equalise after being set up by Gonzalez (73). Lindner would not have had much of a chance.
The match now hung in the balance, with both teams fully in the game. SVWW had the next opportunity and could have extended their lead to two goals, but Törles Knöll headed Kyereh's cross straight into the arms of Stuttgart shot-stopper Kobel from seven metres out (80). SVWW captain Sebastian Mrowca spared Linder's blushes with a vital clearance inside the penalty area a minute later, sliding in with a brilliant tackle to thwart the danger as Mateo Klimowicz prepared to pull the trigger.
Neither team held back as the match entered the final minutes. Marcel Tisch Rivero went close with a shot from a narrow angle, then Stuttgart equalised at the other end when Roberto Massimo's square ball picked out Gonzalez, who slotted home the leveller at the back post (84).
Both the visitors and SVWW subsequently went in search of a winner to ensure maximum points from their first match back. Endo blocked Knöll's attempted shot with his last ounce of strength, turning it around the post (90+3). But there was more drama to come. Stoppage time was almost over when referee Sascha Stegemann signalled that he wanted to consult VAR – the ball had supposedly hit Hamadi Al Ghaddoui's arm from close range during a duel with Chato. Referee Stegemann opted to point to the penalty spot, with Phillip Tietz stepping up and calmly slotting home to secure the win (90+7).
SVWW: Lindner – Mrowca, Mockenhaupt, Dams (Titsch Rivero, 77), Röcker, Schwede – Chato – Aigner (Lorch, 69), Kyereh (Ajani, 84), Dittgen (Knöll, 77) – Schäffler (Tietz, 84).