Ten-man VfB Stuttgart climbed off the bottom of the Bundesliga on Sunday with a dramatic 3-2 win at home to Werder Bremen thanks to striker Daniel Ginczek’s double.
Bremen looked to have rescued a point when defender Jannik Vestergaard headed them level on 86 minutes just after Stuttgart winger Martin Harnik was sent off for a second yellow card, having earlier wasted two clear chances.
But Ivory Coast winger Serey Die put through a superb pass which Ginczek slotted home with ice-cold finishing to claim Stuttgart’s 91st-minute winner.
“I’ve experienced a lot, but that was unbelievable today,” said Stuttgart’s 61-year-old coach, Huub Stevens.
“You have to compliment the team for showing great morale after the sending off and the equaliser.
“You can only manage something like this if you work together.”
The hosts took the lead when midfielder Christian Gentner volleyed home on 16 minutes, but Werder levelled early in the second half through Germany Under-20 striker Davie Selke.
Ginczek headed Stuttgart into a 2-1 lead with 70 minutes gone before claiming his second in the dying stages.
Earlier, Nigeria striker Anthony Ujah and Germany’s Jonas Hector produced some individual brilliance to seal 10-men Cologne’s 3-2 win over Hoffenheim to pull away from the relegation places.
On Saturday, Robert Lewandowski scored twice as injury-hit leaders Bayern Munich romped to a 3-0 league win over Eintracht Frankfurt ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League quarter-final at Porto.
Bayern are now only three wins from claiming a third straight German league title.
Lewandowski, the Bundesliga’s top-scorer last season, has 16 goals for the season and is third in the current rankings.
Frankfurt were missing the league’s top scorer with Alexander Meier, who has 19 goals in 26 matches, suffering from a knee injury.
Centre-back Medhi Benatia, who has a groin injury, joined flu-victim Bastian Schweinsteiger, plus Jerome Boateng, wingers Franck Ribery, Arjen Robben and left-back David Alaba on Bayern’s casualty list.
Bayern needed just 15 minutes to take the lead when Lewandowski produced a superb turn and volley, then headed home, with suspicion of offside, on 66 minutes.
Thomas Mueller added the third eight minutes from time when he fired home from a seemingly-impossible angle.
– Hamburg players brawl –
Second-placed Wolfsburg remain ten points behind Bayern and on course for the Champions League next season after their 2-0 win at 10-men Hamburg, who drop to bottom.
Goals either side of half-time by defensive midfielder Josuha Guilavogui and right winger Daniel Caligiuri sealed Wolves’ win.
Hamburg had Swiss defender Johan Djourou, who brawled with team-mate Valon Behrami in the dressing room at half-time, sent off for a second yellow card in the dying stages.
Borussia Moenchengladbach picked up their fourth straight league win with an impressive 3-1 victory over Borussia Dortmund to stay third in the table.
Gladbach’s Sweden left-back Oscar Wendt scored after just 29 seconds and Brazilian forward Raffael added their second on 32 minutes.
Norway’s Havard Nordveit then fired home when left unmarked at the far post for Gladbach with 67 minutes gone before Ilkay Gundogan pulled a late goal back for Dortmund.
– Leverkusen sack Spahic –
Bayer Leverkusen stayed fourth with a 3-2 win over Mainz, 24 hours before sacking Bosnia international Emir Spahic, who is being investigated by police for allegedly assaulting a club steward.
South Korea striker Son Heung-Min opened the scoring with 15 minutes gone and Stefan Kiessling added a second early in the second-half before Hakan Calhanoglu drilled home a 73rd-minute free-kick.
Mainz’s South Korea international Koo Ja-Cheol converted two late penalties.
Fifth-placed Schalke are now 10 points adrift of a Champions League place for next season after their goalless draw with relegation-threatened Freiburg.
Augsburg stay sixth despite their shock 2-1 defeat at Paderborn, who remain in the relegation places.