After dropping two points against lowly 1. FC Nürnberg last week, Eintracht Frankfurt rediscovered their form against VfB Stuttgart at the Mercedes-Benz-Arena. Meanwhile, the nightmare continues for Stuttgart coach Markus Weinzierl, whose three games in charge of the Swabians have returned a tally of zero points, with zero goals scored and eleven conceded.
Last season, Frankfurt and Stuttgart were both vying for a place in the UEFA Europa League. It could not be more different after ten matches in 2018/19.
While Eintracht have recovered after a poor start to make a charge up the table, Stuttgart have plummeted to the basement. Having already removed Tayfun Korkut as coach, the 2006/07 Bundesliga champions could very well be on their third coach before the winter break.
Frankfurt set the pace
As both clubs had been eliminated in the first round of the DFB-Pokal, the two squads were both fresh after a week's rest. Both coaches made a change each. Eintracht's Adi Hütter brought back Frenchman Sébastien Haller for the injured Mijat Gaćinović, while Markus Weinzierl named the fit-again Dennis Aogo in place of the suspended Emiliano Insúa.
Right from the start, Frankfurt set the pace. It took just four minutes for the visitors to find the back of the net, when a long ball from Danny da Costa sparked a fast break. Ante Rebić had the ball in the back of the net after an excellent exchange with Luka Jović, but the celebrations were short-lived. After a consultation with the video referee, it was determined that the Croatian had strayed offside before rounding Ron-Robert Zieler and executing the finish.
It was a massive let-off for Stuttgart, but they failed to take advantage. Just five minutes after the disallowed Frankfurt goal, Mario Gómez missed a sitter. It was one of those chances that a more confident Super Mario might have put away, but this is a far from confident Super Mario right now. The recently-retired German international managed to find the space he needed, but sent his header well wide of the target.
The Eagles soar
Just two minutes after Stuttgart missed their opportunity, Frankfurt found the net again. This time it counted. As before, it was Rebić and Jović in the thick of the action. The Croat set things up nicely for the Serb, whose firm shot from the edge of the box had just too much zip for poor Zieler. The 'keeper could only parry Jović's effort, and Haller pounced.
Stuttgart went close again when a Nicolás González effort narrowly missed the target after 32 minutes, but Frankfurt made them pay almost immediately. The Hessian side broke quickly again, and the Stuttgart defence was cut to ribbons. Having done well to keep out Haller's effort, Zieler could do nothing to stop what came next.
With the home side all at sea at the back, Rebić had all the time in the world to recycle the ball and float a cross back into the box, where the unmarked Jović headed home from close range.
Müller on the mark
Chances were few and far between for Stuttgart, but at the other end Frankfurt could very easily have matched their goal haul against Fortuna Düsseldorf, where they had scored seven with Jović netting five.
The in-form Serb missed a stack of chances, and Haller also had an opportunity to add to his first half strike. The 2:0 scoreline was extremely flattering to the home side, and when Frankfurt hit their third with a minute remaining it was more than deserved.
It was left to two substitute to wrap things up for Hütter's men. Dutchman Jetro Willems was the creator, and his nicely-weighted cross towards the far post was swept past Zieler in style by former German international Nicolai Müller.
Gulf in class
There was an obvious gulf in class between the two teams, and while the final result was convincing enough, it did not really reflect the sheer extent of Frankfurt's dominance. While Adi Hütter seems to be doing everything right, there are going to be some tough times ahead for Markus Weinzierl and the struggling Swabians.
After a highly successful time in charge at FC Augsburg, Weinzierl then embarked on an ill-fated spell at Schalke 04. Having recharged his batteries for a return to top-level coaching, he has landed right in the middle of a bear pit.
With just five points from their opening ten matches, VfB are bottom of the table, dead level with Düsseldorf.
There may be light at the end of the tunnel for Markus Weinzierl, and he could look no further than Frankfurt coach Hütter for inspiration. At the start of the season, Die Adler were swamped in the Super Cup by FC Bayern München, and followed that with a humiliating cup exit at the hands of fourth-tier SSV Ulm 1846. At the time, the Austrian was one of the favourites to be the first Bundesliga sacking of the season.
VfB Stuttgart 0: 3 Eintracht Frankfurt (Haller 11., Jović 32., Müller 89.)