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.
Club: RB Leipzig
Country: Denmark (34 caps, 5 goals)
Signed from Lyngby in his native Denmark back in 2013, Poulsen joined Leipzig when they were in the third tier of German football, going on to become the club’s record appearance holder (195) and sits third on their all-time scoring chart (48). Twelve matches into the 2018/19 season he’s top of the pile alongside strike partner Timo Werner with six goals, which is already a personal best for the Dane in an entire top-flight campaign.
A bustler on the pitch, no Leipzig player contests more challenges per game (33.8), winning almost 48 per cent of them – an excellent return for a striker. In the air, the 6’3’’ Dane comes out on top in over 52 per cent of duels and is no slouch in a footrace, reaching a top speed of 21.2 mph in the Bundesliga.
Watch: Poulsen's maiden Bundesliga brace in the win at Hoffenheim
Plays a bit like: Emile Heskey
Much like the former England international was for Michael Owen, Poulsen is the perfect strike partner for Werner. 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. He may not have always grabbed the headlines for his goalscoring like Werner, but similar to Heskey, his importance to the team goes deeper than pure statistics.
Did you know?
A player who started out as a defender in his youth, forward 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 borne 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.”
Watch: Get to know Yussuf Poulsen
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 in recent weeks and months.” – Ralf Rangnick, Leipzig first-team coach and sporting director