Mith the next desolate appearance, RB Leipzig made a false start in the Champions League – coach Domenico Tedesco ran out of arguments. The cup winner lost at the start of the premier class on Tuesday 1: 4 (0: 1) against the Ukrainian champions Shakhtar Donetsk and clearly missed the planned victory. The goals from Marian Schwed (16th minute/59th), Mychajlo Mudryk (76th) and Lassina Traoré (76th) shocked the majority of the 41,591 fans. The interim equalizer by Mohamed Simakan (57th) didn’t even last two minutes. The Bundesliga game against Borussia Dortmund on Saturday could be a final for Tedesco.
The professionals of the war-torn Ukrainian club celebrated their emotional victory in Leipzig euphorically, for Shakhtar it was the first international competitive game since the Russian invasion. The domestic league is played without an audience and under the strictest security measures.
Even the Leipzig dress rehearsal at 0: 4 in Frankfurt had failed properly. “The coach can’t help it if there is no willingness to run at all and there is a total lack of willingness to fight,” club boss Oliver Mintzlaff said shortly before the kick-off at DAZN – and demanded improvement and a “reaction”.
Virtually all foreign professionals gone
In the 4-4-2 system, which is unusual for Tedesco, Leipzig proved to be more stable, at least in the first few minutes, but not significantly better. Playmaker Emil Forsberg surprisingly sat on the bench at the beginning, Dominik Szoboszlai replaced the injured Dani Olmo instead. Newcomer Abdou Diallo made his debut. Christopher Nkunku failed early on to Shakhtar goalkeeper Anatolij Trubin (12th), national player Timo Werner hardly developed any danger on the left side in the first half.
The Ukrainians were difficult to assess for the Bundesliga club. As a result of the attack by Russian forces, almost all foreign professionals left the club, and the new coach Igor Jovicevic arrived in July. In the away block, 700 Donetsk fans celebrated the opening goal after a serious mistake by Peter Gulacsi far in front of his penalty area. Swede took the ball from the goalkeeper and hit the empty goal.
RB found it difficult to process the setback. The Leipzig remained the apparently superior team, but didn’t create any compelling chances for too long and were far too easy to defend. At times Tedesco stood stoically on the sidelines, attempts like those made by André Silva in the 29th minute seemed hasty. After all, the Bundesliga club didn’t have any trouble with the guest offensive in this phase – the Jovicevic team didn’t have to do more either.
In the second half – now with national player David Raum taking the place – the expected game developed into a goal. RB put pressure on Shakhtar early on, Werner moved more into the center. Simakan rewarded the run after Szoboszlai’s assist – but almost immediately after the restart, Schwed scored his second goal. Willi Orban deflected the 25-year-old’s shot from unsustainable, the Shakhtar pros ran jubilantly to their coach.
A good twenty minutes before the end, Tedesco made two changes, Forsberg and Benjamin Henrichs came on for Werner and Xaver Schlager. The next goals came from Donetsk again. Mudryk completed a counterattack in an exemplary manner. Traoré finally made the decision.