The chills are over. Part of Dusseldorf. But then the pros from VfB Stuttgart could be applauded by the ultra-fans on the Cannstatt curve. Applause fell on the charges of coach Pellegrino Matarazzo. Despite the 11:28 goals scored in the final statistics of the game, despite a low possession of only 32 percent despite a 1-1 corner kick, VfB did not lose the Bundesliga’s first leg against RB Leipzig.
Ahamada scores his first Bundesliga goal
It was 1-1 when Stuttgart’s anxiety subsided after six minutes of injury time. The people of Leipzig pushed and pushed. VfB weakened and wavered, but the draw remained after goals by Christopher Nkunk (8th minute) for RB Leipzig and Naouirou Ahamada (31st), who scored his first Bundesliga goal and advanced to 1-1. The 20-year-old French has shown he has the class in midfield to be convincing as the permanent successor to Belgium’s Orel Mangali, who was sold to Nottingham.
VfB Sports Director Sven Mislintat was “very pleased” with one point. He looked back for about a year, when the Stuttgart team lost 4-0 in Leipzig in the second round and appeared “without a chance” against RB. Since VfB was promoted to the first division with coach Matarazzo, there were only defeats 0: 1, 0: 2, 0: 4 and 0: 2 in the matches against the Sas. “We didn’t score a point so often against Leipzig,” joked Sven Mislintat, praising goalkeeper Florian Müller. He’s had a “good day”. This is exactly how the Stuttgart coach saw it. Leipzig’s coach, Domenico Tedesco, agreed without any reservations with the verdict of Mislintat and Matarazzo Müller: “It also had a lot to do with the opposing goalkeeper.
The often criticized Müller kept one point
Last season, the number one VfB Stuttgart faced a lot of criticism. The goalkeeper was repeatedly criticized by fans for not being fit to win the match with excellent interventions. This time there was no victory either, but the VfB could celebrate the point.
In any case, Leipzig attacking defender David Raum, who has just transferred from TSG Hoffenheim to Sachsen, said: “If you have so many chances to score here in Stuttgart, you have to do something.” He was not surprised by the qualities of the Stuttgart goalkeeper. Müller came to the rescue in the 12th minute with a brilliant intervention against Lukas Klostermann, in the 66th with an excellent reaction to a shot by Nkunek, and in the 72nd with a header from Willie Orban. “I know Flo, I was with him at the Olympics,” Raum said.
At that time, they were teammates in the German national jersey. Now the opponent. After the game, Raum jokingly complained to Müller as to why he had pulled these things out. The fact that the new compatriot from Leipzig was a bit annoyed did not bother the Stuttgart goalkeeper at all. “He might be today.” Especially in the second half, the VfB had to go through tough situations again and again. “The pressure was brutally high there,” said Florian Müller. One “couldn’t keep up”. But: “We threw ourselves into everything.” It was exactly like that.
The draw was a failure for Leipzig
The Stuttgart specialists were convinced of their great passion. This is exactly what the sports director wanted to see. “The idea is to throw in everything,” said Sven Mislintat, praising a team that nearly dropped out of the Bundesliga last season.
Then there was a happy ending because the attitude was right. It hasn’t changed. The strong performance against RB Leipzig “shows the team spirit,” Mislintat said. The fact that Leipzig’s Benjamin Henrichs had to realize later that he “felt like a failure” was a compliment to the Stuttgart team. RB coach Tedesco saw not only the goalscoring shortcomings in his own team, but also the strengths of Stuttgart. I have to admit, VfB has a good team. Tedesco, who grew up in the Italian-Swabian district of Esslingen, no longer sees that VfB is in constant danger of relegation in the season just beginning.
The first point is taken into account. “Somewhat happy,” said Pellegrino Matarazzo. But RB Leipzig also has a really strong team, “we must be prepared to suffer.” The suffering was appropriately eased by the loud applause of the fans at the end.
VfB Stuttgart: F. Müller – Mavropanos, Anton, Ito – Vagnoman, W. Endo, Katompa Mvumpa (90th Perea) – Führich (77th Millot), Ahamada (90th +1 Karazor) – Kalajdzic (64th Churlinov), Thomas (76th Pier).
RB Leipzig: Gulacsi – Klostermann, Orban, Halstenberg (85 Gvardiol) – Novoa Ramos (81 Simakan), Henrichs, Kampl (59 Szoboszlai), Raum – Olmo (85 Forsberg) – A. Silva (85 Sörloth), Nkunku.
Goals: 0-1 Nkunku (8 ‘), 1-1 Ahamada (31’).
Judge: Tobias Stieler (Hamburg). Viewers: 46,000.