VfB Stuttgart got off to a perfect start in their bid to avoid relegation this season with a 3-1 victory at 1. FC Köln on Bundesliga matchday 18. Promoted teams SV Darmstadt 98 and FC Ingolstadt also recorded victories, while TSG 1899 Hoffenheim were held to a 1-1 draw at home by Bayer 04 Leverkusen. The encounter between third-placed side Hertha BSC and FC Augsburg ended in goalless draw.
Köln enjoyed the better start and took the lead in the 19th minute from Anthony Modeste’s converted penalty after Marcel Risse was brought down by Stuttgart’s Georg Niedermeier. The visitors continued to struggle but levelled the score with their first good opportunity when Daniel Didavi converted a rebound from close range. Timo Werner fired Stuttgart into the lead shortly after the break and Christian Gentner sealed victory with his goal after 84 minutes.
Leverkusen were the more active team in Sinsheim at the start of the game, but Hoffenheim took the lead after 40 minutes from new signing Jiloan Hamad. Jonathan Schmid nearly doubled the hosts’ lead on the hour mark, but his attempt struck the post. Instead, Leverkusen were able to salvage a draw through Ömer Toprak’s goal in the 75th minute.
Hannover 96 are the new bottom side in the standings, losing 2-1 at home to SV Darmstadt despite having taken the lead. New signing Hugo Almeida celebrated his Bundesliga return with the opener after ten minutes, but Sandro Wagner’s brace either side of half time ensured Darmstadt left with the three points.
Ingolstadt further distanced themselves from the relegation zone thanks to their 1-0 home victory over FSV Mainz 05. Moritz Hartmann scored from the spot with five minutes left in the first half after the hosts were awarded a handball penalty. With 23 points to their name, Ingolstadt are currently in tenth place.
38,000 spectators in Berlin’s Olympiastadion were not presented with any goals in the game between Hertha and Augsburg. The side from the capital remain in third place despite this goalless draw, while Augsburg extended their unbeaten run in the league to six games and currently sit in 13th place.