Stuttgart overcome spirited newcomers
Pavel Pogrebnyak scored his first goal for Stuttgart to set them on the way to their first points of the season, but it was a far from comfortable afternoon for Markus Babbel's men against spirited Freiburg. Pogrebnyak, who joined from Zenit St. Petersburg in the summer as a replacement for Mario Gomez, opened his Bundesliga account in the 53rd minute.
Elson made it two from the penalty spot and added another after Mohammadou Idrissou had pulled one back for the visitors. Newly-promoted Freiburg would not lie down, though, and Idrissou again put them within one, Julian Schieber only putting the result beyond doubt a minute from time. There was little indication of the drama that was to come after the break in a first half short on goalmouth action.
Cacau missed the best chance of the opening period in the 14th minute when he fired wide of the right post from 16 yards out after being found by Sami Khedira. Khedira himself sent a mis-hit shot over the bar after Jonathan Jager had volleyed wide at the other end.
How successful Russia striker Pogrebnyak is at filling the void up front left by Gomez's departure to Bayern Munich is likely to go a long way to deciding Stuttgart's fate this term, and he grabbed his first goal for his new employers to put them ahead eight minutes after the break. Good interplay between another new signing Alexander Hleb and Arthur Boka allowed Boka to play in Pogrebnyak, who converted an easy chance from the centre of the area.
Elson, introduced in the 45th minute, forced a fine save from Manuel Salz with a well-struck free-kick before Pogrebnyak was involved in Stuttgart's second in the 65th minute. Salz fouled the Russian in the area and Elson put the resulting penalty into the left corner.
Idrissou halved the deficit 20 minutes from time when he met a cross from the right and planted a great header into the back of the net. Elson restored the home side's cushion six minutes later with an effort from the right channel which went over the head of Salz, but Idrissou again gave Freiburg hope with a neat finish in the 85th minute.
Late substitute Schieber, though, finally put the visitors to bed when his fierce left-footed shot flew into the roof of the net.