Julian Nagelsmann's German Red Bulls face elimination from the UEFA Champions league after FC Liverpool pocketed two "away goals" in Hungary.
|Peter Gulacsi.||Photo: GEPA Pictures/Patrick Schreiber/Jan Huebner/POOL via Picture Point|
Various Leipzig fan groups sent banners eastward in support of their team as Germany's Saxon UCL representatives squared off against Jürgen Klopp's Reds in the "home-leg" of the 2020/21 Champions League Round-of-16. The show of support ultimately meant little as Julian Nagelsmann's RB dropped the match 0-2.
In the eagerly anticipated tactical battle, Nagelsmann rolled out a 3-4-3 with both Dani Olmo, Christopher Nkunku, and Amadou Haidara taking turns on the top attacking axis. Tyler Adams and Angelino worked the wings whilst Marcel Sabitzer worked an advanced stagger ahead of Kevin Kampl in a double-six setup. New Bayern defender Dayot Upamecano anchored a back-three together with Nordi Mukiele and Lukas Klostermann.
Klopp countered with a 4-3-3 spearheaded by Roberto Firminho. Mohammed Salah and Sadio Mané were stationed on the wings. Former Bayern mainstay Thiago Alcantara stood slanted right in midfield. Schalke defender Ozan Kabak made just his second appearance for his new EPL side.
Nagelsmann's men hardly got off to a bad start. Angelino strode through the English side's defensive ranks in the 5th minute and delivered a fine cross to Olmo. The Spaniard headed onto the post. After the opening quarter of an hour, Salah supplied the first Liverpool chance. Spotting keeper Peter Gulacsi off his line, the Egyptian international nearly caught him off with a long lob.
The ball spent quite a bit of time in midfield before the Merseyside visitors got off a few chances around the half-hour mark. A 36th minute Roberto Firminho tally was disallowed after it was ruled that Mané carried the ball over the touchline before crossing. Little else happened until after the break.
Nkunku furnished the second half's first shot-on-goal in the 47th. Six minutes later, however, a defensive mix-up gifted the Reds the opening goal. A misplayed back pass from Sabitzer to Klostermann went straight to Salah. The prolific winger didn't need to work terribly hard to finish in space.
Five minutes after that, Mukiele mistimed a slide tackle on the streaking Mané. The Senegalese super-striker had a clear path to the net and finished easily. The Spanish duo of Olmo and Angelino produced a few quality chances thereafter, but the German "hosts" could not avoid being blanked 0-2 at the end of the night.
Leipzig face Liverpool on March 10th at Anfield in the reverse fixture, needing a three-goal margin-of-victory if they hope to advance to the tournament quarterfinals.
|22||N. Mukiele ↪64|
|44||K. Kampl ↪73|
|8||A. Haidara ↪64|
|7||M. Sabitzer (C)|
|9||Y. Poulsen ↩64|
|11||H. Hee-Chan ↩73|
|4||W. Orban ↩64|
|14||J. Henderson (C)|
|6||T. Alcântara ↪72|
|11||Mohamed Salah ⚽ ↪90|
|9||R. Firmino ↪72|
|10||S. Mané ⚽|
|76||N. Williams ↩90|
|15||A. Oxlade-Chamberlain ↩72|
|23||X. Shaqiri ↩72|