bundesliga

Florian Wirtz inspires ten-man Bayer Leverkusen to victory at VfB Stuttgart

Bayer Leverkusen bounced straight back from their first defeat of the season to Borussia Dortmund a week ago to beat VfB Stuttgart 3-1 with Florian Wirtz scoring one and setting up Patrik Schick for another.

Stuttgart 1-3 Leverkusen
Goals: 0-1 Andrich (2'), 0-2 Schick (19'), 1-2 Mangala (38'), 1-3 Wirtz (70')
Red card: Andrich (31')

Leverkusen got off to a flyer – almost literally – with Andrich leaping to head in the fastest goal of the season, clocked at 89 seconds. Mitchel Bakker delivered the invitation from the wing and the defensive midfielder did the rest. Leverkusen doubled their advantage before 20 minutes had been played, with Schick netting one of the easiest goals of his career from point-blank range. It was made so easy for the Czech forward by the run and cross of Wirtz, who laid the ball on a silver platter for the Euro 2020 top-scorer to find the net for a personal record fourth straight Bundesligs fixture. It was looking like a perfect afternoon for Leverkusen until a rash challenge by Andrich saw him receive a red card following consultation with VAR, and within minutes, Stuttgart were right back in the game. Konstantinos Mavropanos' header from a free-kick was saved well by Lukas Hradecky, but Orel Mangala was on hand to tuck in the rebound from close range.

A challenging 45 minutes lay in store for the ten men of Leverkusen, and it became even more complicated just five minutes in when Schick had to leave the field due to injury. In true workmanlike style, Die Werkself rolled up their sleeves collectively and rather than suffer from being one man down, they appeared to gather strength with Moussa Diaby posing a constant threat. They were looking the more likely to score even before Pascal Stenzel and Mavropanos got in a mix-up and Wirtz took full advantage to bear down on Florian Müller and beat the last line of the Stuttgart defence to restore Leverkusen's two-goal advantage. The Swabians tried to recover, with Omar Marmoush twice going close, but Leverkusen's cushion was too comfortable for them to relinquish and they took the spoils in Stuttgart.

Match stats

  • Leverkusen have scored in the opening 15 minutes on all five matchdays this season.
  • Andrich's red card was the 78th dismissal of a Leverkusen player in Bundesliga history, which is more than any other club. Second on the list are Stuttgart with 77.
  • Wirtz is the youngest player in Bundesliga history to have scored nine goals, dislodging the previous record holder Jadon Sancho by over 50 days.
  • Schick has scored in four consecutive matches for the first time in the Bundesliga.
  • Wirtz has scored for three consecutive Bundesliga fixtures for the first time in his career.
  • Stuttgart have conceded at least once in their last 12 Bundesliga matches.
  • Leverkusen have avoided defeat in 19 of their previous 21 league meetings with Stuttgart (W15, D4).

Watch: Hradecky hails record-breaking Wirtz

Line-ups

Stuttgart: Müller - Mavropanos, Kempf, Ito (Stenzel 60') - Massimo (Klimowicz 71'), Endo (c), Karazor (Klement 71'), Sosa - Mangala (Al Ghaddioui 60'), Coulibaly (Beyaz 83') - Marmoush
Unused subs: Bredlow, Mola, Didavi, Thommy
Out: Ahamada (ankle), Anton (suspended), Cisse (foot), Egloff (foot), Förster (ill), Führich (collarbone), Kalajdzic (shoulder), Sankoh (knee), Silas (unavailable)
Coach: Pellegrino Matarazzo

Leverkusen: Hradecky (c) - Frimpong, Kossounou, Tah, Bakker - Aranguiz, Andrich - Bellarabi (Demirbay 39'), Wirtz (Amiri 85'), Diaby (Adli 86') - Schick (Hincapie 51')
Unused subs: Lunev, Retsos, Paulinho, Alario, Sinkgraven
Out: Baumgartlinger (knee), Fosu-Mensah (knee), Palacios (ankle), Tapsoba (ankle)
Coach: Gerardo Seoane