Amadou Haidara and Emil Forsberg scored as RB Leipzig beat 10-man VfB Stuttgart 2-0 at the Red Bull Arena on Sunday of Matchday 31 to keep the Bundesliga title race alive.
After Bayern Munich lost 2-1 at Mainz on Saturday, Leipzig had to earn at least a point at home to Stuttgart to keep the leaders within reach. They signalled their intent early as Kevin Kampl curled wide from 25 yards. Things then fell the way of Die Roten Bullen when VfB midfielder Naouirou Ahamada was sent off inside a quarter of an hour for a foul on Haidara after referee Deniz Aytekin upgraded his original yellow card to a red on review. As expected, Leipzig then dominated the play and ended the half with almost two thirds of the possession, but they found no way through. Christopher Nkunku had the best chances but was twice denied by Gregor Kobel, first at his near post and then at full stretch to turn a half-volley from the edge of the box behind. Ibrahima Konate also had a header saved, having very little defensive work to do at the other end with Stuttgart failing to muster up a single shot.
As so often this season, Leipzig came racing out the blocks and struck inside the first minute of the second half. Dani Olmo's cross from deep on the right was met by the salmon-esque leap of Haidara and powered past a helpless Kobel from a good 15 yards. Chances continued to flow for the hosts: first Haidara was denied one-on-one by the Stuttgart goalkeeper after a slick one-two with American Tyler Adams. The Swiss shot-stopper then produced a brilliant double save from Spanish duo Angelino and then Olmo on the rebound. His heroics couldn't extend to the penalty spot, though, after Forsberg converted from 12 yards after he was taken down by Konstantinos Mavropanos in the box. The win saw Leipzig reduce the gap to Bayern to seven points with three games remaining.
- Ahamada's dismissal in the 14th minute was the earliest of Stuttgart's 140 red cards in the Bundesliga.
- Haidara's goal was the first with his head in the Bundesliga and he has now scored in two consecutive games for the first time in the league.
- Forsberg netted his seventh goal of the season, and third from the bench, leaving him one short of his personal best of eight in the Bundesliga from 2016/17.
- The Swede had a penalty saved by Kobel in the reverse fixture. He has now converted nine of his 11 spot-kicks in the Bundesliga.
- Leipzig kept up their unbeaten record against Stuttgart in the Bundesliga (W5, D1) and 100 per cent win record at home.
- Die Roten Bullen are still yet to lose against a promoted team in the Bundesliga (W17, D3). Every other team in the league’s history had lost such a match by the ninth game at the latest.
Watch: Forsberg: “I’m happy with the team’s performance”
Leipzig: Gulacsi (c) – Klostermann (Mukiele 65’), Konate (Upamecano 46’), Orban – Adams (Henrichs 73’), Kampl, Haidara, Angelino - Olmo (Kluivert 76’), Nkunku (Forsberg 65’) - Sörloth
Unused subs: Martinez, Sabitzer, Halstenberg, Laimer
Out: Poulsen (thigh), Szoboszlai (groin)
Coach: Julian Nagelsmann
Stuttgart: Kobel - Mavropanos, Anton, Kempf - Coulibaly (Churlinov 88'), Endo, Ahamada, Massimo - Förster, Castro (c) (Karazor 74’) - Kalajdzic (Sankoh 74’)
Unused subs: Bredlow, Thommy, Stenzel, Klement, Cisse, Klimowicz
Out: Egloff (ankle), Gonzalez (thigh), Kaminski (not included), Mangala (thigh), Silas (knee), Sosa (knee)
Coach: Pellegrino Matarazzo
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