Freiburg 1 Stuttgart 4: Harnik secures win on Stevens' return

​Huub Stevens made an immediate impact on his return to Stuttgart as the Bundesliga strugglers recorded a 4-1 victory over Freiburg.

Stevens replaced Armin Veh at Stuttgart earlier this week - just six months after leaving the club - and enjoyed a dream comeback at the Mage Solar Stadion on Friday.

Goals from Carlos Gruezo and Timo Werner, and a double from Martin Harnik, moved Stuttgart off the bottom of the table by ending their three-match winless run.

Both sides were wasteful in the early stages, but Harnik opened the scoring just after the half hour, the striker heading home from an Antonio Rudiger knock down.

Freiburg's Vladimir Darida levelled with four minutes of the half to play, with his 25-yard shot arrowing past Sven Ulreich and into the bottom corner.

Stevens' words at half-time seemed to galvanise the visitors, though, and seven minutes after the break they were ahead, Gruezo collecting a loose ball on the edge of the area and firing home.

Stuttgart then extended their advantage on 68 minutes as Werner collected a pass from Moritz Leitner and coolly slotted the ball under the advancing Roman Burki.

Any hopes Freiburg had of getting back into the game suffered a severe blow when Stefan Mirovic was sent off for a foul on Harnik with 20 minutes to play.

And Stuttgart's win, which moves them level with Freiburg in the Bundesliga table, was confirmed shortly after when Harnik added a fourth, tapping Gotoku Sakai's cross-cum-shot home.