Romanian striker Ciprian Marica was the hero as Stuttgart recorded a 1-0 away win over Freiburg in their southwestern Bundesliga derby.
Both sides currently sit in the wrong half of the table and the game was always going to be a closely fought affair. Stuttgart started the brighter of the two and Freiburg keeper Simon Pouplin was forced to turn Pavel Pogrebnyak’s drive from a free-kick over the bar, before the Russian was guilty of an horrific miss, blazing over when it was easier to score.
Stuttgart opened the scoring just before the break. Alexander Hleb played a neat ball through to Pogrebnyak, who released Ciprian Marica. The Romanian finished well past Pouplin.
The hosts thought they had claimed an equaliser just after an hour but Papiss Cisse’s effort was ruled out after it struck Heiko Butche who was in an offside position. Stuttgart defender George Niedermeier cleared Felix Bastians’ header of the line after 76 minutes as the visitors held on for a win that moves them to 11th in the divison.
Freiburg, meanwhile, remain just outside the relegation zone in 15th place with a total of 18 points from 19 games.