Manuel Veth –
Stuttgart v Leipzig or relegation battle against Champions League aspirations. Both sides desperately needed the points and it was hard fought match in which Leipzig’s talent edged it in the end.
- Hard fight in Stuttgart
- Poulsen scores twice
- Sabitzer with a beautiful freekick goal
Stuttgart v Leipzig
Goals: 1-0 (Yussuf Poulsen, 4’), 1-1 (Steven Zuber, 16’ PK.), 1-2 (Marcel Sabitzer, 68′), 1-3 (Poulsen, 74′)
It took just four minutes for Leipzig to take the lead. Timo Werner was granted to much room on the left and was able to break into the box, his low ball into the six-yard box was missed by the entire Stuttgart defence and allowed Yussuf Poulson to tap the ball across the line.
Stuttgart were seemingly shocked by the early goal. The Swabians had little to no control of the midfield easily giving the ball away whenever trying to put together a string of passes. Nothing was working for Stuttgart, at least so it seems. Because in the 16′ minute they were handed an unlikely lifeline.
A long ball from the left found Mario Gomez in the box, the striker tried to extend the ball with his head, and from there the ball hit Willi Orban’s hand. At first, Felix Zwayer waved Stuttgart’s complaints off but a VAR review clearly indicated a handball. Steven Zuber stepped up and hammered home the penalty.
Clearly feeling hard done by the decision, Leipzig reacted to the equaliser by going straight on the attack. For Stuttgart, the plan at this stage was simple, step into Leipzig’s attacks using brute force. Werner, in particular, felt the full force of Stuttgart’s defenders, and on top of that, the hate of the VfB fans, who reminded him constantly, for what was in their eyes a controversial move from Stuttgart to Leipzig in 2016.
Defensively, the strategy worked for Stuttgart because Leipzig made the mistake to commit to the war of attrition, which severely limited their tactical and technical superiority over the Swabians. Stuttgart, in fact, had a big chance just before halftime a freekick from the right found Ozan Kabak in the 45′ but his header was cleared Marcel Sabitzer before it could cross the line.
The second half continued where the first ended. Leipzig were definitely the more talented team, but Stuttgart countered Leipzig’s talent with a fighting spirit unseen in Swabia for some time.
In the 64′ minute, Stuttgart had the big chance to take the lead for the first time this afternoon. Alexander Esswein broke through on the right and centred the ball to Santiago Ascacibar. The little Argentine unleashed a hard shot, but Leipzig keeper Peter Gulacsi stretched out and made a spectacular stop.
Instead, Leipzig retook the lead in the 68′ minute. Die roten Bullen were awarded a freekick at the edge of the box after Kabak had brought down Poulsen. Marcel Sabitzer stepped up and circled the ball over the wall into the far corner of Ron-Robert Zieler’s goal.
That goal broke Stuttgart’s back. In the 74′ minute, Poulsen broke free just behind the halfway line after a fantastic pass by Tyler Adams and ran unopposed into Stuttgart’s defensive third and in the end had no problems beating Zieler with a low drive from 14-yards out. Stuttgart tried to get back into the game but it was the final goal in a hard-fought match in which Leipzig had the better end thanks to the individual talent.
Stuttgart v Leipzig – Man of the Match
Yussuf Poulsen was the man of the match. The forward scored twice and with his physical presence was better equipped to deal with Stuttgart’s defensive approach than his partner Timo Werner. The Danish striker has developed into an attacking threat for RB Leipzig and has already scored 12 goals this season. That is as many as he has had in the Bundesliga going into the 2018/19 season.
Stuttgart v Leipzig – Talking Point
Stuttgart tried to break down Leipzig by playing physical football. It was a strategy that worked until Sabitzer broke the deadlock with a wonderful freekick. Leipzig, in general, and Timo Werner, in particular, got tied down by the many one-v-one situations and the tackles that Stuttgart employed. Once Leipzig did score the goal, however, Stuttgart’s limits became obvious.
Stuttgart v Leipzig – Match Stats
- Poulsen has scored already four goals in the first ten minutes this season. No other player has more.
- After 22 matchdays in the Bundesliga, Ebbe Sand (15 goals in 2000-01) is the only Dane to score more goals than Yussuf Poulsen (12).
- Timo Werner did not score today, but overall he has scored more than three times as many goals for Leipzig (45) than for Stuttgart (13).
Stuttgart v Leipzig – Line-ups
Zieler – Kempf, Kabak, Pavard – Insua (Sosa, 86′), Castro (Didavi, 75′), Ascacibar, Beck (Donis, 80′) – Zuber, Gomez, Esswein
Coach: Markus Weinzierl
Gulacsi – Halstenberg, Orban, Konaté, Klostermann – Demme, Adams – Forsberg (Bruma, 59′), Sabitzer – Werner (Ilsanker, 78′), Poulsen (Matheus Cunha, 90′)
Coach: Ralf Rangnick
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and among others contributes to Forbes.com and Pro Soccer USA. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which is available HERE. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.