VfB Stuttgart secured a hard-fought 2-0 victory over Cologne at the RheinEnergieStadion, propelling them to the second spot in the Bundesliga standings. The win inflicted Cologne’s fifth defeat of the season and pushed them into the relegation zone after six matchdays.
Die Schwaben started the game on a strong note, with striker Serhou Guirassy posing a constant threat to the hosts’ defense. Guirassy, who had already equaled Robert Lewandowski’s record of scoring 10 goals in half the number of games, came agonizingly close to opening the scoring with a header that hit the crossbar. He also set up Hiroki Ito’s shot, which narrowly missed the target.
Despite Stuttgart’s early dominance, Steffen Baumgart’s Billy Goats gradually gained momentum and had their chances. Dejan Ljubičić’s powerful strike from outside the area forced Stuttgart’s goalkeeper, Alexander Nübel, to make a brilliant save. Neither team could break the deadlock in the first half, setting the stage for an exciting second half.
After the break, Stuttgart continued to press forward, but Cologne’s defense held strong. It was Chris Führich who eventually broke through Baumgart’s backline with a speedy run. Führich passed the ball to Deniz Undav, who calmly converted from close range, giving Stuttgart the lead.
Stuttgart’s second goal came soon after, once again courtesy of Undav. The striker pounced on a rebound to seal the victory and extend Stuttgart’s unbeaten head-to-head record against Cologne, dating back to December 2021.
This win marks Stuttgart’s third consecutive clean sheet against a resilient Cologne side. In contrast, Cologne has only managed one home victory in their last ten league games, losing the previous four matches.
While it may be premature to compare Stuttgart to their title-winning team of 2006/07, their position just one point behind league leaders Bayer Leverkusen puts them in the mix as surprise contenders for European qualification.