Mario Gomez makes big impact in second Stuttgart debut

 
 
Updated 1/13/2018 11:59 AM
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  • Stuttgart's Mario Gomez, right, challenges with Berlin players, goalie Rune Jarstein, second right, Mitchell Weiser, center, and Niklas Stark during the German Bundesliga soccer match between VfB Stuttgart and Hartha BSC Berlin, in Stuttgart, Germany, Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018. (Marijan Murat/dpa via AP)

    Stuttgart's Mario Gomez, right, challenges with Berlin players, goalie Rune Jarstein, second right, Mitchell Weiser, center, and Niklas Stark during the German Bundesliga soccer match between VfB Stuttgart and Hartha BSC Berlin, in Stuttgart, Germany, Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018. (Marijan Murat/dpa via AP) Associated Press

  • Hannover's Matthias Ostrzolek, left, and Mainz' Daniel Brosinski challenge for the ball during the German Bundesliga soccer match between Hannover 96 and FSV Mainz 05, in Hannover, Germany. Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018. (Peter Steffen/dpa via AP)

    Hannover's Matthias Ostrzolek, left, and Mainz' Daniel Brosinski challenge for the ball during the German Bundesliga soccer match between Hannover 96 and FSV Mainz 05, in Hannover, Germany. Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018. (Peter Steffen/dpa via AP) Associated Press

BERLIN -- Mario Gomez celebrated his return to Stuttgart with a hand in the side's late goal to beat visiting Hertha Berlin 1-0 in the Bundesliga on Saturday.

The Germany striker was being held by Hertha defender Niklas Stark and appealed for a penalty when they both fell over, only for the ball to come off Stark and loop over his own goalkeeper. Referee Felix Brych allowed the goal to stand.

Gomez was playing his first competitive game for Stuttgart since rejoining the side in a winter transfer from Wolfsburg. The 32-year-old Gomez's career began with Stuttgart youth sides before he helped the senior side win the Bundesliga in 2007.

Stuttgart climbed away from the relegation zone and was just four points behind Hertha in mid-table.

"We didn't play the stars out of the sky but it was an important win for us," said Stuttgart coach Hannes Wolf, who acknowledged Hertha was the better side.

Hertha had 10 efforts on goal compared to the home side's seven.

Niclas Fuellkrug scored a hat trick as Hannover came from two goals down at home to beat Mainz 3-2 and move two points above Hertha.

Also, Augsburg defeated Hamburger SV 1-0 to leave the visitor stuck in the relegation zone.

Eintracht Frankfurt and Werder Bremen were held to 1-1 draws at home by Freiburg and Hoffenheim, respectively.

Second-place Schalke was visiting Leipzig for the late game.

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