Christopher Nkunku off the mark but RB Leipzig held by VfB Stuttgart
Bundesliga Player of the Season Christopher Nkunku scored his first goal of the 2022/23 campaign but it was not enough for RB Leipzig to take all three points in a 1-1 draw away to VfB Stuttgart.
VfB Stuttgart 1-1 RB Leipzig
Goals: 0-1 Nkunku 8' (assist: Olmo), 1-1 Ahamada 31' (assist: Kalajdzic)
Leipzig staged a stirring fightback in last week's Supercup against Bayern Munich, even if they did end up losing 5-3, and they began here eager to show their true colours. Domenico Tedesco's men soon edged in front too when Nkunku collected Dani Olmo's clever through-ball to start the new season in the same way he finished the last one. Yet for all their early dominance the visitors could only find the net once and the momentum of the game shifted when Naouirou Ahamada curled in an equaliser from the edge of the box following a neat one-two with Sasa Kalajdzic. The hosts were subsequently the better side, with Kalajdzic heading over from a corner and Konstantinos Mavropanos hitting the post with a low drive, but it remained 1-1 until half-time.
Given that Tedesco studied for his DFB coaching badges alongside VfB counterpart Pellegrino Matarazzo it was perhaps unsurprising that the two teams cancelled each other out after the interval, like two chess masters anticipating the other's moves. A Josha Vagnoman shot that whizzed over was the only chance of note until the closing stages, by which time Leipzig began to push for a winner. Some swift interplay between Olmo and Andre Silva set up Nkunku for another effort at goal, but his shot was well saved by Florian Müller. The home goalkeeper was called into action again later, first making a full-stretch save to keep out Willi Orban's header before denying Olmo's long-range blaster.
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- Nkunku's strike means he has 14 goals in the 2022 calendar year, more than any other current Bundesliga player.
- The Frenchman, who found the net 20 times last season, did not get off the mark in 2021/22 until Matchday 6.
- Stuttgart have conceded the first goal in eight of their nine Bundesliga meetings with Leipzig.
- Ahamada scored his first Bundesliga goal (in his 10th appearance); it was also his maiden career strike as a senior professional.
- It was only the second time Stuttgart have netted against Leipzig in the Bundesliga.
- Müller made eight saves in this game - more than he's ever made in a VfB shirt.
Watch: Matarazzo: "Florian Müller kept us in the game"
Stuttgart: Müller - Mavropanos, Anton, Ito - Vagnoman, Endo (c), Ahamada (Karazor 90'+1), Silas (Perea 90') – Führich (Millot 77') - Kalajdzic (Churlinov 64'), Tomas (Mola 76')
Unused subs: Bredlow, Stenzel, Pfeiffer, Egloff
Out: Coulibaly (toe), Kastanaras (ankle), Nartey (ankle), Sosa (match fitness)
Coach: Pellegrino Matarazzo
Leipzig: Gulacsi (c) - Klostermann, Orban, Halstenberg (Gvardiol 85') - Henrichs, Olmo (Forsberg 85'), Kampl (Szoboszlai 59'), Raum – Nkunku - Novoa (Simakan 81'), Silva (Sorloth 85')
Unused subs: Blaswich, Haidara, Schlager, Ba
Out: Poulsen (thigh)
Coach: Domenico Tedesco
Watch: Gulacsi: "We didn't take our chances"
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