It was a Champions League night to remember for RB Leipzig on Wednesday, as they romped to a 5-0 win at Club Brugge on matchday 5 of the group phase. The result means RBL are in good stead to qualify for the Europa League.
There were a string of personnel problems for the Red Bulls to overcome, with not only head coach Jesse Marsch and captain Péter Gulácsi in self-isolation after testing positive for Covid-19, but Willi Orban, Mohamed Simakan, Amadou Haidara, Sidney Raebinger, Philipp Tschauner and Dominik Szoboszlai were also all sidelined through either illness or various knocks.
Leipzig were anything but hampered by the situation though and produced a stunning first-half performance under the guidance of assistant coach Achim Beierlorzer. Christopher Nkunku continued his Champions League exploits by opening the scoring (12'), which was soon followed by an Emil Forsberg penalty to make it 2-0 (17'). André Silva headed in a brilliant third (26'), before Forsberg demonstrated his class with a thunderous low strike into the bottom corner to make it 4-0 at the break (45+1').
Understandably, the visitors took their foot off the gas somewhat in the second half, yet Brugge still struggled to create meaningful opportunities. Stand-in goalkeeper Josep Martínez did produce some fine goalkeeping on occasion though. The fifth and final goal followed in second-half stoppage time, of course courtesy of Nkunku with his seventh goal of this UCL campaign (90+3'). The three points puts the Red Bulls ahead of Club Brugge into third in the group standings, meaning they now only have to match the Belgians' result when Manchester City come to Leipzig on 7th December, in order to secure a place in the UEFA Europa League knockouts.
Mignolet – van der Brempt (60' Mechele), Hendry, Nsoki (46' Ricca), Clinton – Vanaken (C), Balanta – Lang, De Ketalaere, Sowah – Dost (46' Rits)
Unused subs: Lammens, Maouassa, Mbamba, Vormer, Wesley, Izquierdo
Martinez - Mukiele, Klostermann (62' Henrichs), Gvardiol (80' Bonnah), Angeliño – Kampl (C), Laimer (62' Moriba) – Nkunku, Forsberg – Brobbey (66' Novoa), Silva
Unused subs: Eutinger, Wosz
Davide Massa (Italy)
Lang (63'), Balanta (85')
0-1 Nkunku (12'), 0-2 Forsberg (17', pen.), 0-3 Silva (26'), 0-4 Forsberg (45+1'), 0-5 Nkunku (90+3')
26,000 | Jan Breydelstadion, Bruges
Kick-off at the Jan Breydelstadion. Auf geht's, RB Leipzig!
Angeliño fires a first warning shot from the edge of the box that flies comfortably wide of the target.
A first piece of action for the Brugge goalkeeper. Mukiele unleashes a powerful effort from 20 yards and Mignolet has to get two strong hands behind it to push it away.
Another long-range effort, this time from Gvardiol, but his shot is a few yards the wrong side of the post. A strong opening period from our boys, though.
12th minute, GOAL for RB Leipzig:
YES! A deserved opener. A through ball from Mukiele towards Brobbey drops perfectly at the feet of Silva, and although his effort is saved by Mignolet, Nkunku is there to follow up the rebound and stick the ball in the back of the net.
16th minute, penalty for RB Leipzig:
Sowah fouls Brobbey in the box. That's a penalty!
17th minute, GOAL for RB Leipzig:
Emil Forsberg steps up and coolly finds the bottom-left corner. 2-0 for the Red Bulls - keep going, boys!
The first decent opening for the hosts, but Dost is kept out from close range by Martínez in what is his first real action of the game.
26th minute, GOAL for RB Leipzig:
BRILLIANT STUFF! The perfect way to respond to that Brugge chance. Angeliño's cross from the left is pinpoint and the header from Silva in the middle loops wonderfully over the helpless goalkeeper. 3-0 to Leipzig!
Mukiele might be playing at right-back, but he's getting into a lot of dangerous areas. He has another pop from distance, this time his aim isn't quite on point though.
45th minute +1, GOAL for RB Leipzig:
Emil Forsberg adds a fourth right on the stroke of half time! He has time to pick out his spot and drills a shot low into the bottom corner to round off a stunning first-half from our boys.
We're back underway with a couple of changes for Brugge.
The first chance of the half falls to Laimer, who is kept out with his shot from the edge of the box by Mignolet.
Half-time substitute Rits tests Martínez, but it's a fairly routine save for our stand-in goalkeeper.
An effort from Ricca from around 30 yards is well over the top of the Leipzig goal. The chances have dried up in this second half, but that suits us well.
That was closer. Silva looks to add his second, but Mignolet makes a good save from close range.
90th minute +3, GOAL for RB Leipzig:
A late fifth! Novoa is unlucky to see his shot kept out by the Brugge goalkeeper, but Nkunku follows up once again to complete his brace and a 5-0 win.
A comfortable and well deserved win for the Red Bulls. Now a place in the Europa League knockouts is in our own hands on the final matchday.