Bundesliga Leipzig vs Stuttgart
RB Leipzig’s Dominik Szoboszlai scored in each half to secure a 2-1 victory over VfB Stuttgart on Friday that lifted his side to second place on Bundesliga and within a point of leaders Bayern Munich.
Marco Rose’s Leipzig, who have now won six of their last seven league matches and have lost just once since he took over in September, are on 35 points behind Bayern, who host fourth-placed Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday.
Hungary international Szoboszlai opened his account in the 25th minute, drilling in a free kick from 30 metres, with the ball bouncing in front of Stuttgart goalkeeper Florian Muller. He scored again four minutes after the restart, picking up the ball at the edge of the box and rifling in a crisp shot.
Leipzig, unbeaten against Stuttgart in their 10 Bundesliga matches, should have scored again with Andre Silva hitting the woodwork in the first half and wasting another golden chance just past the hour when his close-range header missed the mark.
Instead it was relegation-threatened Stuttgart who pulled one back with a Chris Fuehrich penalty in the 68th, but despite late pressure they could not find an equaliser that would have moved them up from 15th place.
In the 25th minute, he fired Leipzig ahead with a direct free-kick from distance, which owed as much to some poor handling from Stuttgart keeper Florian Müller as it did to the Hungary international’s technique. But his second goal just after half-time was very smartly taken; perfect control with an outstretched right boot, and a crisp low finish past Müller into the bottom corner.
Despite a Chris Führich penalty for the visitors midway through the second half, Leipzig held on to win 2-1 and keep the pressure on league leaders Bayern Munich.
It’s not the first time the attacking midfielder has made life hard for Stuttgart. On his very first Bundesliga start in August 2021, the former Salzburg man struck a spectacular brace against Die Schwaben, thrashing in a first from range and poaching a second from a beautifully delivered free-kick, which bamboozled Müller when nobody in the penalty area got a touch on it.
Szoboszlai in Bundesliga
“I’ve known Marco since my time in Salzburg,” Szoboszlai said earlier this season, after Rose was appointed as Tedesco’s successor. “We had both good and bad times together, but one thing is certain: if he hadn’t been there in my career, I wouldn’t be where I am now.”
Szoboszlai had made a rather indifferent start to the season, coming off the bench in an opening draw with Stuttgart (and not scoring for once), then getting a straight red card in the subsequent stalemate with Cologne. On his return, Leipzig were thumped 4-0 by Frankfurt, which – coupled with a 4-1 Champions League loss to Shakhtar Donetsk – spelled the end for Tedesco. And heralded the start of the Hungarian’s renaissance under Rose.
An assist and a goal against Dortmund on Matchday 6. Two assists against Hertha Berlin on Matchday 10. Assists in the next four games against Augsburg, Leverkusen, Hoffenheim and Freiburg. The assist for Halstenberg against Bayern. The double against Stuttgart. Since Rose came in, Szoboszlai has started every Bundesliga game, and his influence goes beyond the easily measurable framework of those three goals and eight assists.
“They were brilliant goals, everyone can see that,” Xaver Schlager said after Szoboszlai’s superb Stuttgart showing on Matchday 18. “But we also take more note of how hard he works off the ball, how he positions himself and how he presses on the pitch. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an attacking midfielder who is so good defensively.”
A potent combination of ball-winner, creator, set-piece specialist and goal-getter, Szoboszlai helped Leipzig lift their first DFB Cup last term. At 22, he’s already a four-time Austrian champion with Salzburg – and if he keeps up current form, he could soon be a German champion with Leipzig as well.