Stuttgart downs Bremen to extend unbeaten streak

Martin Harnik bagged a brace to run his season total to 16 as Stuttgart overcame an early deficit for a convincing 4-1 win over Werder Bremen on Friday at Mercedes Benz Arena in the Bundesliga.

Stuttgart has gone unbeaten in nine straight matches, including seven wins, to solidify a European place for next season. In addition to having a grip on the fifth spot and a Europa League berth, the Champions League is within reach.

With 23 of a possible 27 points from its last nine fixtures, Stuttgart is just four points behind Monchengladbach for fourth place and the qualification spot for the Champions League.

Markus Rosenberg put Bremen ahead inside 25 minutes, but Christian Gentner put Stuttgart level in the 37th minute and Harnik added his first just before the halftime whistle.

Harnik completed his brace early in the second half, and Cacau added the final goal in the 89th off a free kick, the third set-piece goal for Stuttgart.

While Stuttgart has solidified its European dreams, Bremen will have to focus on sixth place and a Europa League spot. Bremen is eighth ahead of the weekend matches, two points behind Bayer Leverkusen and Hannover.