NAfter the successful evening against Real Madrid, RB Leipzig also delivered in everyday life in the Bundesliga. Coach Marco Rose’s team won 2-0 (1-0) against Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday and thus climbed to a place in the European Cup for the time being. The cup winners have never been so high this season, Leverkusen slipped to relegation place 16. Christopher Nkunku (32nd minute) and Timo Werner (83rd) scored the goals of the afternoon in front of 45,598 fans.
Four days after the 3-2 win against the defending champions in the Champions League, Rose made tactical and personnel changes. Five new players slipped into the starting XI, with only the change in goal from Janis Blaswich to Örjan Nyland being forced. Blaswich are plagued by calf problems, Rose wanted to rest the 31-year-old for the crucial premier class game on Wednesday in Warsaw against Donetsk. That’s how Nyland, who was signed for the injured captain Peter Gulacsi, made his debut for grassball.
With the Norwegian national goalkeeper came a changed basic order. For the first time in his tenure, Rose started with a back three, wanting to counter the three strikers in the visitors’ attack. This ultimately led to both teams neutralizing each other and a game without scoring chances developing. Bayer didn’t even have a shot on goal in the first half.
Rose reacts at halftime
Leipzig was exactly one standard situation better. When Dominik Szoboszlai took a free kick, everything focused on Willi Orban, who had moved up. Nkunku came from the back and thanked him for the freedom in the penalty area. It was the ninth goal in the twelfth league game for the French international. To the chagrin of supporters, the goal had no rousing effect and the game remained status quo. Leipzig controlled Bayer without any major problems, but did not get their chance on the offensive as usual.
Despite all control, Rose reacted at half-time. The injured Mohamed Simakan was replaced in central defense by Josko Gvardiol. In central midfield, Kevin Kampl had to give way to the better fighting Amadou Haidara. With control and counterattack, Leipzig pushed for the second goal. The angle was too acute for Szoboszlai (57′) after a brilliant move via Nkunku and Timo Werner, Haidara kicked the ball over the ball a minute later after a corner. On the other side, Daley Sinkgraven (61′) was the first Leverkusen professional to score a ball on the Leipzig goal, with which Nyland had no problems.
Bayer coach Xabi Alonso changed in the offensive department – but only in relation to the position. Former Leipzig player Patrik Schick replaced his Czech compatriot Adam Hlozek up front. Exequiel Palacios took the place of Nadiem Amiri in central midfield. This did little to change Bayer’s helplessness, 15 minutes before the end Alonso brought his last trump in Callum Hudson-Odoi.
That didn’t do much either, instead Werner made the decision. The national player was as skilled as he needs on a counterattack by Haidara. Werner used his speed against Jonathan Tah and converted confidently after a 30-meter sprint.