bundesliga

Moussa Diaby strikes again as improving Bayer Leverkusen beat VfB Stuttgart

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Moussa Diaby continued his hot streak with another goal as Bayer Leverkusen defeated VfB Stuttgart 2-0 to record a third consecutive Bundesliga win.

Leverkusen 2-0 Stuttgart
Goals: 1-0 Diaby 30' (assist: Demirbay), 2-0 Tah 82' (assist: Palacios)

Leverkusen have struggled for consistency all season but, after overcoming both Union Berlin and Cologne to earn back-to-back wins for the first time in 2022/23, Xabi Alonso’s side were full of confidence here. Especially so against a Stuttgart team deprived of the likes of Silas, Borna Sosa and Konstantinos Mavropanos, so when Jeremie Frimpong teed up Amine Adli for an early chance it set the tone for a first half in which the home side dominated and the visitors were unable to threaten at all. Diaby had the next chance but saw his shot from a tight angle palmed away by Florian Müller. There was nothing the VfB goalkeeper could do about Diaby’s next effort though, the Frenchman’s deflected strike from the edge of the box leaving him wrong-footed as it nestled in the net.

Stuttgart put up more of a fight early in the second half as they tried to muster a response, but they lacked the guile to undo the home rearguard. It took a while for Die Werkself to find their feet again, but when they did Diaby was inevitably involved once more. Scampering away down the left, the 23-year-old picked out Frimpong in the centre but the Dutch full-back could only direct his volley wide of the post. The same duo were involved on 77 minutes when Frimpong volleyed in Diaby’s pinpoint cross from the left, only to see it ruled out for offside. Jonathan Tah showed them how it was done late on, prodding in at the back post to seal the points after Exequiel Palacios flicked on a corner. At the opposite end of the pitch, an Enzo Millot free-kick from the edge of the box that went straight into the wall was as good as it got for Stuttgart, who slipped into the relegation zone as a result of this defeat, with Leverkusen now perched in the safety of mid-table over the winter break.

  • Frimpong made his 50th Bundesliga appearance in this game.
  • Diaby scored his sixth league goal of 2022/23, making him the team's leading scorer ahead of Frimpong, who has five.
  • All six of Diaby's goals have come in the last seven games, including four in his last three outings.
  • Demirbay's assist was his third of the campaign, to go with three goals.
  • VfB midfielder Laurin Ulrich made his Bundesliga debut here at the age of 17 years, 285 days.
  • Seven of Tah's eight Bundesliga goals have come from set pieces, including five from corners.

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Watch: Alonso on Diaby's importance to Leverkusen

Teams

Leverkusen: Hradecky (c) - Tapsoba, Tah, Hincapie - Frimpong (Fosu-Mensah 90'+4), Palacios, Demirbay (Azhil 90'+3), Bakker - Diaby (Bellarabi 87'), Adli (Hlozek 59'), Amiri (Sinkgraven 87')
Unused subs: Lomb, Lunev, Sertdemir, Hudson-Odoi
Out: Andrich (suspended), Aranguiz (calf), Azmoun (muscular), Paulinho (flu), Schick (adductor), Wirtz (fitness)
Coach: Xabi Alonso

Stuttgart: Müller - Anton (c), Zagadou, Ito – Vagnoman (Coulibaly 67'), Karazor, Ahamada, Millot (Ulrich 85') - Tomas (Pfeiffer 67'), Guirassy, Führich (Perea 85')
Unused subs: Bredlow, Hoppe, Aldonis, Egloff, Kastanaras
Out: Endo (concussion), Mavropanos (suspended), Nartey (illness), Silas (muscle tear), Sosa (muscular), Stenzel (illness)
Coach: Michael Wimmer