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Yussuf Poulsen has played his way into the hearts of the RB Leipzig fans. - © RB Leipzig
Yussuf Poulsen has played his way into the hearts of the RB Leipzig fans. - © RB Leipzig

Yussuf Poulsen: Who is the Danish striker who has become an institution at RB Leipzig?


Yussuf Poulsen has been with RB Leipzig almost since day one, becoming an institution at the Bundesliga club...

bundesliga.com takes a closer look at the forward who's accompanied Die Roten Bullen all the way from the third division to the Bundesliga and beyond.

Yussuf Poulsen

Born: 15 June 1994 (29)
Club: RB Leipzig
Position: Forward
Country: Denmark (68 caps, 11 goals)

Poulsen is already a Leipzig record holder for club appearances. - 2019 DFL

Key stats

Signed from Lyngby in his native Denmark back in 2013, Poulsen joined Leipzig when they were in the third tier of German football. He has since gone on to become the club’s record appearance holder (358 after 2022/23) and sits third on their all-time scoring chart (85).

His personal best single-season haul of 15 came in 2018/19, bettering the 11 and 10 he previously scored in Bundesliga 2 and the third division, and while he has accumulated only 18 in the four seasons since, he has nevertheless etched his name in the club's record books as their longest-serving player.

A bustler on the pitch, no Leipzig player contests more challenges per game (31.8), winning almost 45 per cent of them – an excellent return for a striker. In the air, the 6’3’’ Dane comes out on top in almost 50 per cent of duels and is no slouch in a footrace, reaching a top speed of 21.2 mph in the Bundesliga.

Watch: "I owe Leipzig everything" - Poulsen

Plays a bit like: Karim Benzema

A player who puts himself about on the pitch, he combines his physical strength with movement to find room to offer himself for a pass, and at the same time open up the space for his fellow striker to run into with the defence preoccupied.

Just like the former Real Madrid forward, Poulsen is also not afraid to take aim himself and unleash venomous shots, while both are pretty useful in the air. He may not have always posted as impressive numbers as decoy Timo Werner, but similar to the way Benzema acts a decoy for the likes of Gareth Bale, among others, his importance to the team goes deeper than pure statistics.

Strong in the air and in front of goal, Poulsen offers his side a variety of options up front. - 2017 DFL

Did you know?

A player who started out as a defender in his youth, Poulsen can be hard for the untrained eye to spot on the pitch. The reason is because he doesn’t always carry his surname on his kit. For previous clubs and national team Denmark, he's worn the name 'Yurary' in honour of his late father, who lost his battle with cancer when Yussuf was only six. Leipzig are actually the exception to this because, as Poulsen explained, "I asked for 'Yurary' when I signed but they told me they'd already printed the 'Poulsen' jerseys."

Incidentally, Poulsen signed for Leipzig at the same time as current Bayern Munich man Joshua Kimmich, and the pair used to share an apartment together with midfielder Diego Demme.

Poulsen (l.) and Joshua Kimmich (r.) both signed for RB Leipzig at the same time, although their paths later divided. - imago images / Sven Simon

What they're saying

"It's great for me with him up front. We complement each other really well. He likes going for aerial challenges, which I don't. He's got an amazing set of lungs." – Timo Werner

"I've always had a high opinion of him, and he's continued to improve in every sense since he arrived here. It's a joy to work with him and to see how far he's progressed." – Ralf Rangnick, former Leipzig first-team coach and sporting director

"He's worked hard for where he's got, and improved constantly. He's got the lungs of a horse – Yussi runs like crazy, and he now has the goalscoring record to match his efforts." – Davie Selke, former RB Leipzig teammate