RB Leipzig rounded off matchday 30 with a trip to a rival for the Champions League places in Bayer Leverkusen. Domenico Tedesco’s side picked up all three points in a 1-0 win, with the only goal of the game coming through Dominik Szoboszlai. After their fourteenth game without defeat, the Red Bulls now sit on 54 points in third place in the Bundesliga table after overtaking Sunady’s opponents.
The early stages of the game offered little in terms of goalscoring chances, but RBL were allowed to enjoy 80 of possession in the first fifteen minutes. Both sides operated with a back three but it was Leverkusen who looked to have found the way to goal in the first half, Edmond Tapsoba (22’), Jonathan Tah (26’), Moussa Diaby (28’) and Exequiel Palacios (38’) all seeing their efforts saved by Péter Gulácsi.
Head coach Tedesco made a change at the break, introducing top scorer Christopher Nkunku in place of André Silva. Unsurprisingly, he had an instant impact. In the 47th minute, he danced between defenders in the area and was brought down by a kick from Jonathan Tah. The referee decided against awarding the penalty and the ball fell to Willi Orban, whose first-time shot bounced clear off the post. Marcel Halstenberg then shot just over the bar from a free kick (49’) and the game opened up. Moussa Diaby struck into the side netting (64’), before Nordi Mukiele broke away down the right but chipped just past the far post (68’). One minute later, however, the ball was in the net. After a misplaced Leverkusen pass, Nkunku played the ball to Szoboszlai who touched outside Tah before shooting with the outside of his foot. The shot deflected off the Leverkusen defender and into the back of the net to open the scoring to give his side what proved to be the victory (69’).
BAYER 04 LEVERKUSEN:
Hrádecky - Tapsoba, Tah (74' Demirbay), Hincapie (88' Azmoun) - Kossounou, Andrich (80' Alario), Aránguiz, Palacios (74' Paulinho), Bakker - Schick, Diaby
Unused subs: Grill, Lunev, Baumgartlinger
Gulácsi – Klostermann, Orbán, Gvardiol - Mukiele, Adams (83' Henrichs), Forsberg (58' Olmo), Halstenberg (73' Angeliño) - Szoboszlai - Silva (46' Nkunku), Poulsen (58' Laimer)
Unused subs: Martínez, Simakan, Raebiger, Novoa
Daniel Siebert (Berlin)
48' Hincapie, 72' Andrich | 36' Gvardiol
28,000 | BayArena
First half highlights:
Underway in Leverkusen. Let's go, RB Leipzig!
Leipzig are enjoying all of the ball so far, but Leverkusen are strong at the back and are not allowing anything.
Instead of their usual four-man defence, the home side are operating with a back three today and have so far not allowed Leipzig a shot on goal. Andrich has come the closest so far, but his effort went harmlessly over the bar in the 13th minute.
Palacios delivers a free kick into the penalty area from deep. Tapsoba meets it at the back post but it’s straight at Gulácsi.
Another header at the back post from Leverkusen. This time, it’s a corner from Diaby that is met by Tah. The outcome is the same: no problem for Pete.
Schick with a good ball into the path of Diaby, who gets into the area and shoots from a narrow angle. Gulácsi makes a good save.
The first card of the game: Joško Gvardiol is booked as he arrives a second too late on Andrich. That’s his sixth booking in the Bundesliga this season.
A cross into the box from Leverkusen is met by Schick, but it’s wide to the right of the post.
Not too much to report on in the first half. Leipzig started comfortably, but the home side came into the game more as time drew on. Péter Gulácsi has been the busier of the two goalkeepers, but the scores are level.
Second half highlights:
The second half is underway. Christopher Nkunku comes on for André Silva.
Christo makes an instant impact. He dribbles in the area and already looks dangerous. He goes down after a kick from Tah in the penalty area but the referee waves play on. The ball lands at the feet of Orban, whose first time shot strikes the post.
Nkunku is brought to ground on the edge of the area. Halstenberg steps up from the resulting free kick and shoots narrowly over the bar.
RBL look the much better side in the second half and are edging towards the opener.
Double change: Laimer and Olmo come on for Forsberg and Poulsen.
Diaby is played through in the area and shoots on his weaker right foot. It’s into the side netting.
Laimer plays a brilliant ball down the right for Mukiele, who drives forward and gets into the area, his chipped shot beats the ‘keeper but goes some way wide of the far post.
69th minute, GOAL for Leipzig!
Nkunku picks up the ball in a central area and finds Szoboszlai ahead of him.The forward takes one touch to turn round the outside of Tah and uses his second to shoot with the outside of his boot- The ball deflects of the Leverkusen defender and into the back of the net!
Another change for the Red Bulls: Angeliño comes on for Halstenberg.
Diaby cuts in from the right and shoots with his left. No problem for Pete.
Henrichs comes on for the closing stages. Tyler Adams makes way.
Leverkusen are fighting hard for a late equaliser, but RBL are strong at the back.
Three minutes of added time.
Leipzig victorious in Leverkusen! A big win and important three points see RBL move up to third place in the table!