Leipzig dispatch Hoffenheim to reach Pokal quarter final
By Ultan Corcoran @UltanCorcoran
First half goals came from Emil Forsberg and Konrad Laimer as 'Die Roten Bullen' cruised into the final eight of Germany's premier domestic cup competition. Kasper Dolberg did reduce the arrears on 74 minutes, until Timo Werner put any chance of a comeback to bed when he made it 3-1 six minutes from full-time.
|RB's Emil Forsberg.||Photo: Steffen Prößdorf, CC BY-SA 4.0|
Hoffenheim’s brightest moment came inside a short minute-long burst before the half hour mark. Munas Dabbur’s deflected cross-cum-shot almost posed some trouble for Ørjan Nyland in the RB goal. In the end, the former FC Inglostadt goalkeeper gattered admirably underneath his crossbar. Leipzig hit a quiet spell of their own offensively. Chances were few and far between outside of Werner teeing up Forsberg who blazed over in the 38th minute. However, Konrad Laimer did make it 2-0 four minutes before the interval. The Austrian midfielder held off his opposing compatriot, Christoph Baumgartner, and swivelled to blast home across goal from a tricky angle.
Both managers made a substitution each during the break. Benjamin Henrichs replaced Gvardiol while Simakan moved inside to the centre-half role. Andre Breitenreiter opted to introduce Thomas Delaney, formerly of Bremen and Dortmund, in place of Akpoguma. The Danish star arrived at the Sinsheim based club during the winter transfer window on loan from Sevilla. It wasn’t long before Baumgartner went off too – presumably as a precautionary sub due to the knock he sustained in the first-half. Once again there was little to no promising shots on either goal outside of Timo Werner’s two chances which were both called back for offside.
Out of nowhere, Hoffenheim bagged lifeline with 14 minutes of normal time remaining. The RB defence went to sleep momentarily while Angeliño crept in behind to cross for substitute Kasper Dolberg whose powerful header beat Nyland. A goal out of the blue for the blue clad team on a night where they had offered little in attack. While Dabbur missed a chance to level matters against the run of play, Timo Werner eventually put the cup tie to bed at the other end. Yusuf Poulsen’s perfectly weighted pass offered up the simplest of finishes for the German who made it 3-1 on 84 minutes.
Things went from bad to worse for Breitenreiter’s charges. Stanley Nsoki, already booked for an earlier foul, received his marching orders when he booted the ball away after Delaney’s foul. In the end, the 3-1 full time scoreline reflective of both sides recent form and performance this evening – Leipzig dominant throughout while simultaneously flying high in the Bundesliga of late. Hoffenheim on the other hand, out of the Pokal and second best all over the park, as their search for a first win in 2023 goes on. Rose’s RB march on to the Pokal Quarterfinals in relative comfort and style.