This was another match where the form book was ripped up and thrown out of the window. Unbeaten Werder Bremen were hot favorites to take all three points against winless VfB Stuttgart, but it was the Swabians who took the points with their first win of the season.
Stuttgart coach Tayfun Korkut has had a tough start to the season, and continued to switch his starting eleven around. Out went Pablo Maffeo, Chadrac Akolo and Erik Thommy, and in came Andreas Beck, Anastasion Donis and Daniel Didavi, making his first start of the season after returning from injury.
In stark contrast, Bremen Trainer Florian Kohfeldt has had an easy ride so far. There was only one change for the Green-Whites, a simple rotation exercise that saw Philipp Bargfrede start in place of Martin Harnik.
Both teams approached the game positively, and there were plenty of early opportunities. Yuya Osako sent an early header wide for Werder, and and Donis could have done better for Korkut's side with just seven minutes on the clock. Bremen were doing most of the work, but the men in white were lurking with intent.
True to form, Bremen had the chance. Stuttgart 'keeper Ron-Robert Zieler was tested by both Osako and Max Kruse, only for the deadlock to be broken at the other end as the play swung dramatically. After 19 minuets, a lovely pass from Didavi found Donis, who charged away from one green shirt before jinking past 'keeper Jiří Pavlenka and slotting the ball into the empty net.
Despite being behind, Bremen were still the better team. But luck was not on their side. Theodor Gebre Selassie failed to hit the target when the should have done better (23.), but things got worse when Miloš Veljković was shown a second yellow card for a foul on Didavi. A goal and a man up, Stuttgart were sitting pretty at half-time.
On another day, this might have gone a completely different way. Kruse could have done better just a minute after the restart, and Max Eggestein, has has already scored a couple if spectacular goals for Werder this season, hit the post. It looked as if it was not going to be their day.
If Bremen were not going to do the job themselves, it was up to the hosts to help them out. In the 68th minute, an innocuous throw in from Croatian Borna Sosa to Zieler was completely misread by the Stuttgart 'keeper. He swung at the ball, which rolled rather apologetically into the net. It was not massively clear whether the unfortunate Zieler had actually got a touch, but it was credited as an own goal anyway. Replays would show that it was the finest of touches.
Having been given that unexpected lifeline, Bremen seemed to forget that they were playing ten against eleven. Just five minutes after entering the fray as a 67th minute sub, veteran Claudio Pizarro was a post away from giving Kohfeldt's men the lead.
Castro wins it for Stuttgart
As the game started to open up, the Swabians sensed an opportunity. With fifteen minutes remaining, Mario Gómez set up former German international Gonzalo Castro, whose right-footed finish restored VfB's lead.
After that, Bremen threw everything and the kitchen sink forward, allowing Stuttgart even more space to launch the counterattack. Sub Nicolás González had a couple of great chances to put the hosts two goals clear, but the Argentinian summer signing was denied on both occasions by Pavlenka.
Nuri Şahin had Bremen's final sight of goal, before Castro both spurned further chances to wrap up the three points for Stuttgart. By this time, though, the visitors were spent. Korkut's men held on through to the final whistle, and they had finally broken their barren run. At the same time, high-flying Werder's unbeaten start to the season also came to an end.
Result: VfB Stuttgart 2 (Donis 19., Castro 75.) Werder Bremen 1 (Zieler og 68.)