Augsburg's miserly defensive set-up caused some problems for Julian Nagelsmann's RB Leipzig in a Saturday fourth round encounter.
A patient Saxon team nevertheless eventually put die Fuggerstädter away 2-0 to claim top spot in the Bundesliga table.
|Yussuf Poulsen.||Photo: GEPA Pictures/Roger Petzsche|
Overnight confirmation that Leipzig midfielder Amadou Haidara tested positive for COVID-19 forced 33-year-old trainer Julian Nagelsmann to deploy a makeshift 3-6-1 when squaring off against fellow league leaders Augsburg in a highly anticipated weekend match.
Swedish winger Emil Forsberg stood alone up top as a center forward, buttressed directly by inward positioned Dani Olmo and Christopher Nkunku. Jose "Angelino" Tasende and Nordi Mukiele worked as wingbacks on a very deep axis. Fullback Benjamin Henrichs made his starting debut for his new team as a central six partnered with Tyler Adams.
Die Roten Bullen struggled to get into gear offensively throughout much of the first half. Angelino found his way through on the left with some regularity, but could find no takers for his square balls and crosses. Augsburg keeper Rafal Gikiewicz made two early errors. The visitors were unfortunately unable to capitalize.
Heiko Herrlich's team thought they would enter the tunnel having preserved a 0-0 scoreline. A brilliant combination on behalf of Leipzig's two Spanish internationals, however, broke the deadlock at the stroke of half-time.
A scintillating individual run from Dani Olmo brought the 22-year old all the way to the touchline, where he deftly lifted a service to the far post. His lurking countryman Angelino headed home to give Leipzig the 1-0 lead.
Herrlich employed a triple substitution nine minutes after the restart in an effort to shake things up. It was instead Nagelsmann's substitutions that proved decisive. Danish striker Yussuf Poulsen came on in the 66th to replace Forsberg, giving Nagelsmann a true center forward to aim for the kill shot.
Within seconds of being subbed on, the 26-year-old executed a dream goal. In a beautiful distance effort off the half-volley, the Dane slammed home an Olmo service with his first touch. Poulsen, Angelino, and Nkunku would come close to opening up the floodgates down the stretch. Each produced quality efforts that didn't miss by much in a final 24 minutes that featured absolutely nothing offensive from Augsburg.
Leipzig now top the German Bundesliga table with only Frankfurt (who kick off tomorrow against Köln) eligible to catch them before the weekend is out. The SGE would have to win by over five goals to knock the current league leaders off their perch.
Elsewhere in the Bundesliga 15:30 kickoffs, a heavily rotated Dortmund squad snuck past Hoffenheim 1-0. Peter Bosz's Leverkusen were also able to hang on against Mainz by a 1-0 scoreline while Bremen and Freiburg split the difference 1-1.
In the most up-tempo affair of the early kickoffs, visiting Stuttgart upset Hertha BSC 2-0 in front of 4,000 home fans at the Olympiastadion.