bundesliga

VfB Stuttgart's struggles continue as Yussuf Poulsen brace helps RB Leipzig win

Yussuf Poulsen scored his fifth brace of the season as RB Leipzig inflicted a sixth defeat in seven games on struggling VfB Stuttgart at the Mercedes-Benz Arena.

VfB Stuttgart 1-3 RB Leipzig

Goals: 0-1 Poulsen (6'), 1-1 Zuber (pen. 16'), 1-2 Sabitzer (68'), 1-3 Poulsen (74')

Leipzig made a flying start and were ahead after just five minutes when Poulsen got the rub of the green with Timo Werner's cutback finding its way through a defender's legs for the Dane to convert from close range. A goal down against the side with the best defensive record in the Bundesliga, and without a win since mid-December, Stuttgart's prospects appeared bleak, but Leipzig defender Willi Orban gave them a helping hand – literally – with video assist consulted to award a penalty. Steven Zuber stepped up to score his first goal for Stuttgart, and the Swabians' first ever goal against Leipzig. Werner nearly restored Leipzig's lead promptly afterwards, but his shot just missed the far post, while the hosts were unlucky not to take the lead in stoppage time when Andreas Beck's header was cleared off the line by Marcel Sabitzer.

Stuttgart were putting up a brave fight against their high-flying opponents and they almost took the lead after an hour's play when Gomez touched Alexander Esswein's cross back for Santiago Ascacibar, who fizzed a shot that stung Peter Gulacsi's palms. Back at the other end, Ron-Robert Zieler could not get anywhere near Sabitzer's free-kick which was curled to perfection over the wall and into the top corner to restore Leipzig's lead midway through the second half. It was a crushing blow for Stuttgart, whose dented confidence was destroyed by Leipzig's third just five minutes later. Tyler Adams's finely-weighted pass into the path of Poulsen was carried forward and converted with aplomb by the 24-year-old for his fifth brace of the season. Esswein tested Gulacsi and Mario Gomez had a goal disallowed in two more moments symptomatic of the Swabians' season, which continues to be one of struggle.

Watch: Yussuf Poulsen on a "deserved" Leipzig win

Match stats

  • Poulsen has scored a league-leading five of Leipzig's ten goals within the first 15 minutes of games this season, and six times he has given Leipzig a 1-0 lead this season.
  • Zuber converted his first penalty in the Bundesliga.
  • Beck was a starter in all four of Stuttgart's wins this season.
  • Christian Gentner had started Stuttgart's last 44 matches; he last sat on the bench in April 2012.
  • VfB’s seven-match winless run is their longest since returning to the Bundesliga in 2017.
  • Die Schwaben have shipped a league-high 48 goals so far this season.

Line-ups

Stuttgart: Zieler - Beck (Donis 80'), Kabak, Kempf, Insua (Sosa 86') - Ascacibar, Pavard - Esswein, Castro (Didavi 75'), Zuber – Gomez (c)
Unused subs: Grahl, Thommy, Gentner, Badstuber
Out: Aogo (calf), Baumgartl (concussion), Gonzalez (suspended)
Coach: Markus Weinzierl

Leipzig: Gulacsi – Klostermann, Konate, Orban (c), Halstenberg – Sabitzer, Adams, Demme, Forsberg (Bruma 59') – Werner (Ilsanker 78'), Poulsen (Cunha 90')
Unused subs: Mvogo, Saracchi, Mukiele, Augustin
Out: Haidara (knee), Laimer (suspended), Upamecano (knee), Kampl (head), Sabitzer (muscle), Smith Rowe (groin)
Coach: Ralf Rangnick