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Bayer Leverkusen were twice forced to come from behind as they beat VfB Stuttgart in the DFB Cup quarter-finals. - © IMAGO/kolbert-press/Marc Niemeyer
Bayer Leverkusen were twice forced to come from behind as they beat VfB Stuttgart in the DFB Cup quarter-finals. - © IMAGO/kolbert-press/Marc Niemeyer
bundesliga

Bayer Leverkusen squeeze past VfB Stuttgart to reach DFB Cup semi-finals

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Bayer Leverkusen preserved their unbeaten record in all competitions this season as they came from behind to record a narrow 3-2 win against an in-form VfB Stuttgart side in the DFB Cup quarter-finals on Tuesday.

Leverkusen 3-2 Stuttgart
Goals: 0-1 Anton 11' (assist: Stiller), 1-1 Andrich (50'), 1-2 Führich 58' (assist: Millot), 2-2 Adli 66' (assist: Wirtz), 3-2 Tah 90' (assist: Wirtz)

This match was billed as a not-to-be-missed encounter between arguably the Bundesliga's two best attacking teams right now - and it did not disappoint. Buoyed by convincing back-to-back Bundesliga victories over RB Leipzig and Freiburg, Stuttgart went on the front foot and took an early lead when Waldemar Anton connected with an Angelo Stiller corner to send a looping header into the net. They were the better team for much of the half, with Leverkusen's first effort on goal coming around the half-hour mark. Alejandro Grimaldo had a free-kick well saved by Alexander Nübel and Patrik Schick had a goal disallowed for offside as the home side improved before the interval, but Stuttgart held onto their lead going into the break.

Xabi Alonso must have given his players a stern half-time team talk because they equalised early in the second half when Robert Andrich hit a stunning drive from outside the box. The momentum appeared to be on the hosts' side, but Stuttgart struck again out of the blue when Chris Führich guided a lovely shot into the top corner from the edge of the area. The topsy-turvy nature of the match continued shortly afterwards as Leverkusen substitute Amine Adli levelled once again just seconds after taking to the pitch, collecting a Florian Wirtz pass and sprinting forward to score. Wirtz was involved once again as Leverkusen struck late on to seal their berth in the semi-finals, the Germany international guiding a pass onto the head of Jonathan Tah to send the BayArena into wild celebrations. 

Match stats

  • Adli is the top-scoring Bundesliga player left in this season's DFB Cup, with four goals.
  • Alonso won the 2015/16 DFB Cup as a Bayern player, between two semi-final losses to Dortmund.
  • The 1992/93 DFB Cup is Leverkusen's only major domestic trophy to date. They are three-time runners-up (2001/02, 2008/09 & 2019/20).
  • Three-time cup winners Stuttgart were bidding to reach their first final since losing the 2012/13 edition to Bayern. They've now lost all four of their cup meetings with Leverkusen(2019/20, 2002/03, 1991/92 and 2023/24).

Teams

Leverkusen: Kovář - Hincapie, Tah, Tapsoba - Frimpong (Stanišić 90'+3), Xhaka (c), Andrich, Grimaldo - Hofmann (Adli 63'), Wirtz (Hložek 90'+3) - Schick (Iglesias 63')
Unused subs: Hrádecký, Mbamba, Tella, Fosu-Mensah, Puerta
Out: Arthur (thigh), Boniface (groin), Kossounou (international duty), Palacios (thigh)
Coach: Xabi Alonso 

Stuttgart: Nübel - Roualt, Anton (c), Ito, Mittelstädt (Stergiou 70') - Karazor, Stiller - Vagnoman, Millot (Leweling 62'), Führich (Dahoud 79') - Undav
Unused subs: Bredlow, Stenzel, Milosevic, Massimo, Chase, Cissé
Out: Jeong (international duty) Nartey (knee), Silas (international duty), Zagadou (knee)
Coach: Sebastian Hoeneß

As it happened!

3 - 2

(0 - 1)

Leverkusen
FINAL
Stuttgart
DFB Pokal
Quarter-final
Quarter-final BayArena
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Full-time: Bayer Leverkusen 3-2 Stuttgart

Jonathan Tah's late goal sees Leverkusen clinch a thrilling DFB cup tie as their fabulous season gets even better with a spot in the last four!
End of second half
90'
+ 3

Standing ovation for Wirtz

The young playmaker has put in another brilliant performance tonight and has two assists to his name.
90'
+ 3

Substitution

90'

Four minutes of stoppage time indicated

Leverkusen look to have a spot in the last four!
90'

Tah puts Leverkusen in front!

Leverkusen are in the lead for the first time tonight in the 90th minute! Moments after winning a corner with a chip downfield that Hiroki Ito headed over his own bar, Jonathan Tah is upfield and receives a floated pass from Florian Wirtz that he dispatches straight in with a header.
90'

Jonathan Tah

GOAL!

3:2
Jonathan Tah
88'

The chances have dried up

We haven't seen any opportunities in recent minutes, and we may be heading for an additional 30.
83'

Will we see a knockout blow?

Neither side appears to want to commit too much with extra time looming on the horizon.
78'

Undav draws save

That could have seen Stuttgart take the lead again. Deniz Undav fires a drive from the edge of the box that Matěj Kovář saves at his near post.
74'

Iglesias fires over

New signing Borja Iglesias meets a Jeremie Frimpong cutback on the edge of the box but steers his shot over.
72'

A lively cup night in Leverkusen

We've seen four goals so far, and this second half, in particular, has been very open. Either side could go on to win it from here!
66'

Adli equalises!

Two minutes after coming off the bench, Amine Adli brings Leverkusen back on level terms after being picked out by Florian Wirtz and charging through on goal before sliding his shot in.
66'

Amine Adli

GOAL!

2:2
Amine Adli
62'

Action at both ends

Undav has a shot blocked then Hofmann fires wide after Wirtz is stopped when dribbling towards goal.
58'

Stuttgart soar back in front!

Well, well, well. Leverkusen seemed to have all the momentum on their side after levelling, but the visitors take the lead with a very neat goal that sees Chris Führich guiding it into the top corner from the edge of the penalty area.
58'
Chris Führich
55'

Frimpong tries to feed Schick

Jeremie Frimpong cuts the ball across from the right and Patrik Schick tries to meet it on the turn - but can't quite connect with it in front of goal.
53'

Undav free-kick off target

That wasn't the worst effort, as Deniz Undav curls a free-kick from 25 metres out, but it flies off target.
50'

Leverkusen are level!

The hosts get their reward for sustained attacking pressure either side of the break. Alejandro Grimaldo cuts the ball from the left and it falls out to Robert Andrich, who finds the roof of the net with a brilliant drive from outside the box!
50'
Robert Andrich
48'

Schick stopped by Nübel

Patrik Schick gets through on goal after a clever ball poked through by Florian Wirtz, only for him to be stopped by Alexander Nübel.
46'

Off we go again

The second half starts. Can Leverkusen come back?
Kick-off!
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Half-time: Bayer Leverkusen 0-1 Stuttgart

A cup clash that always looked certain to fascinate became even more intriguing after Waldemar Anton's early goal gave Stuttgart the lead. Leverkusen have combined well and created chances but have been frustrated so far by the visitors' defence.
Half-time
45'
+ 3

Ito strikes side netting

Stuttgart have their first attacking spell for a while, and Hiroki Ito ventures forward to meet the ball in the box and hit it into the side netting.
45'

Four minutes of stoppage time indicated

Stuttgart will be delighted if they can take the lead into the break.
44'

Schick saved

Florian Wirtz plays a little cutback to Patrik Schick at the near post - and he diverts the ball on target only for Alexander Nübel to turn it behind.
42'

Grimaldo free-kick denied by Nübel

Alejandro Grimaldo curls a free-kick towards the near post from just outside the area, and Alexander Nübel leaps across to make a stunning save. The pressure is mounting from Leverkusen...
40'

Schick goal disallowed

Patrik Schick turns the ball into the net after being played through by Alejandro Grimaldo, but the Czech attacker was standing offside.
39'

Wirtz blazes over

Florian Wirtz smashes over when the ball falls back to home at the edge of the box.
36'

Millot receiving treatment

The French youngster is being patched up after a coming together with Robert Andrich and should be able to continue.
34'

Booking for Frimpong

The Leverkusen right-back is shown a yellow card for dissent.
34'

No easy way through for Leverkusen

Taking an early lead has suited Stuttgart perfectly in a tactical sense. They have sat back and given Leverkusen very little space to play in.
30'

Grimaldo has a go

The Spaniard has an effort from outside the box but fires well off-target.
camera-photo

First goal of the season for Anton

What a time to score!
27'

All the shots from Stuttgart so far

The Bundesliga leaders are yet to have an effort.
Shots
0
5
26'

Mittelstädt goes in notebook

Maximilian Mittelstädt is shown a yellow card for fouling Jeremie Frimpong.
23'

Ito denies Frimpong

Hiroki Ito puts in a brilliant sliding challenge to take the ball from Jeremie Frimpong in the box. He concedes a corner, but nothing comes of that.
22'

Undav from distance

Deniz Undav sends a shot from outside the box well wide on the bounce.
20'

Führich has a go

Chris Führich dips a shot from the edge of the box that Matěj Kovář comfortably saves.
18'

Booking for Andrich

Leverkusen midfielder Robert Andrich slides into Angelo Stiller and is shown the game's first yellow card.
15'

Leverkusen try to react

The hosts are threading together plenty of passes around the Stuttgart danger area, but the visitors are defending well so far.
11'

Anton heads Stuttgart in front!

Leverkusen are yet to lose in any competition this season, but they are behind tonight! Waldemar Anton meets Angelo Stiller's corner at the far post and sends a looping header past Matěj Kovář.
11'
Waldemar Anton
7'

Vagnoman smashes ball out of play

Vagnoman hoists the ball downfield from a good 40 metres from goal - it wasn't clear if he was shooting or trying to play a team-mate in, but it runs straight out of play in any case.
5'

Even opening

Both teams are looking to work out an early advantage - with Leverkusen seeing more of the ball and winning the first corner of the encounter.
1'

We're off!

The cup quarter-final gets underway.
Kick-off!

BayArena filling nicely

There's a real sense of anticipation in Leverkusen given their spectacular season so far. With only one other Bundesliga side still in the DFB Cup, Borussia Mönchengladbach, they have every hope of lifting the trophy if they can see off a Stuttgart side also on a high.
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More on that Leverkusen team

Xabi Alonso makes five changes to the side that started their 2-0 win at Darmstadt on Saturday. Kovář, Tapsoba, Frimpong (pictured right), Hofmann and Schick are brought into what is a strong starting XI.
camera-photo

More on that Stuttgart team

Sebastian Hoeneß makes just one change to the side that began the 3-1 win at Freiburg at the weekend. Hiroki Ito (pictured) starts after returning from the Asia Cup and replaces Stergiou.

Leverkusen starting XI

Kovář - Hincapie, Tah, Tapsoba - Frimpong, Xhaka (c), Andrich, Grimaldo - Hofmann, Wirtz - Schick

Leverkusen subs

Hrádecký, Stanišić, Iglesias, Mbamba, Tella, Adli, Hložek, Fosu-Mensah, Puerta

Stuttgart starting XI

Nübel - Roualt, Anton (c), Ito, Mittelstädt - Karazor, Stiller - Vagnoman, Millot, Führich - Undav

Stuttgart subs

Bredlow, Dahoud, Stenzel, Leweling, Milosevic, Stergiou, Massimo, Chase, Cissé
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Hoeneß's view on Leverkusen

"Leverkusen are top of the Bundesliga table with an unbelievable points tally [52] and have yet to lose a game, but we've also claimed decent results against two strong teams recently. It's a huge game."
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Alonso's view on Stuttgart

"We've got the chance to reach the semi-finals. We're very motivated. There's always pressure at this level, regardless of the opponent and the competition. I like the way Stuttgart play. Intelligent and flexible. They absolutely deserve to be where they are in the table."
2:03
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Watch: Stuttgart 1-1 Leverkusen - previous meeting

These two sides met as recently as December in the Bundesliga as Florian Wirtz cancelled out Germany international teammate Chris Führich in a 1-1 draw in Stuttgart.
3:00
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Watch: Freiburg 1-3 VfB Stuttgart - highlights

Early goals from Deniz Undav and Chris Führich in Freiburg set Stuttgart on their way to another victory to cement third place in the Bundesliga.
3:52
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Watch: Darmstadt 0-2 Bayer Leverkusen - highlights

Xabi Alonso's men maintained their two-point advantage at the top over Bayern Munich thanks to Nathan Tella's brace away at bottom side Darmstadt on Saturday.

Welcome!

It's Bundesliga leaders Bayer Leverkusen against high-flying VfB Stuttgart, with a place in the DFB Cup semi-finals the prize. Stay tuned!