Tag Archives: RB Leipzig

Dortmund Propel Themselves Back Into Bundesliga Title Race With 3-1 Win Over Leipzig

Borussia Dortmund reignited their fading title hopes with a statement victory over fellow challengers RB Leipzig on Saturday which moved them within five points of leaders Bayern Munich.

Jadon Sancho opened the scoring before a double from Erling Haaland sealed the win, with Alexander Sorloth netting a late consolation for the hosts as they suffered only their second league defeat of the season.

Both sides went into the game in good form, with Leipzig unbeaten since the end of October. Die Roten Bull knew a win at the Red Bull Arena would see them leapfrog leaders Bayern Munich at the summit, after the Bavarian giants let a two goal lead slip against Borussia Monchengladbach to suffer a 3-2 defeat.

It would be a stern test against a much improved Dortmund however, with Die Borrussen having won two of their three Bundesliga games under interim manager Edin Terzic since he took over in December.

Julian Nagelsmann made one change to the team which defeated Stuttgart 1-0 last Saturday, with Yussuf Poulsen coming in for Kevin Kampl. Opposition boss Terzic opted to name the same starting eleven who helped Dortmund to overcome Wolfsburg 2-0 last weekend.

Dortmund were dealt an early blow in the game as Belgian midfielder Axel Witsel was forced to limp off and be replaced by Emre Can. The club later confirmed that Witsel had suffered a torn Achilles’ tendon and is set to be ruled out of action for a number of months.

In a first half where chances were at a premium, Leipzig’s Dani Olmo came closest to opening the scoring. He capitalised on a poor clearance from Dortmund left back Guerriero, taking the ball down well on his chest on the edge of the area, before volleying a shot which dipped just over the top of the crossbar.

After a toothless first period, where Dortmund failed to register a single shot on target in a half for the first time in nearly 14 months, they came out for the second half with a renewed vigour and were nearly rewarded with an early breakthrough.

Just three minutes after the restart, Jadon Sancho slipped Marcos Reus in on the left hand side of the penalty area, but the Dortmund captain was denied by Gulasci at his near post. From the resulting corner, Emre Can rose highest to meet Sancho’s inviting delivery, but the German midfielder’s thumping header skimmed the crossbar.

They took a deserved lead on fifty five minutes after a lightening quick move. Haaland burst down the right and squared to Reus, who cleverly flicked the ball into the path of the onrushing Sancho and the winger did the rest, coolly slotting past Gulasci at his near post to put Dortmund ahead.

It was the Englishman’s second goal in as many games, after previously going seventeen games without one. Dortmund continued to find their strive and almost had a second when Sancho fed Haaland who had made a darting run into the penalty area, but the Norwegian striker’s thunderous effort cannoned off the crossbar after a touch from Gulasci.

At the other end Leipzig came closest to equalising when Dani Olmo’s low drive rattled the far post. The Spaniard received the ball on the half turn and wriggled away from Guerriero before shooting, with his angled drive bouncing off the upright and away from goal.

Dortmund got the all important second goal with just twenty minutes of the contest remain after some lovely build up play, which was started and finished by Haaland. He danced past a number of players before feeding Sancho on the left. He then neatly exchanged passes with Guerriero before putting in an enticing delivery which Haaland duly met, towering above Halstenberg to give Dortmund a deserved two goal cushion.

Haaland wrapped up the win in the 83rd minute when he latched onto Reus’ perfectly weighted through ball before rounding Gulasci and tapping into an empty net for his 12th Bundesliga goal of the season.

Leipzig found time to pull one back when substitute Alexander Sorloth reacted quickest to fire home at the second attempt after Burki had parried his initial header back into the striker’s path. It proved to be too little too late however, as Dortmund held on for a crucial win which moves them to within three points of the home side.

Speaking to ESPN after the game, Dortmund midfielder Emre Can said:

“Everyone knows that today this was an extremely important game for us. It was a game that would tell us which way our season will be going. It was decisive to win it. The last few weeks have not been easy. Now we want to launch our attack.”

Meanwhile Leipzig boss Nagelsmann told the media:

“We’ve lost after nine unbeaten. It’s frustrating because it was against a direct rival. However looking at their chances, it was a deserved victory for Dortmund.

“It was an interesting game, with both teams very good tactically. We controlled the first half and Dortmund the second.
In the second half, we lost our structure and BVB took advantage when we lost possession.”

Both teams are back in Bundesliga action next weekend as Dortmund host Mainz in their next fixture on Saturday afternoon whilst Leipzig are away to Wolfsburg at the same time.

Manchester United vs RB Leipzig Match Preview

The second round of matches in the Champions League Group Stage sees Ole Gunner Solskjaer’s team host Bundesliga side RB Leipzig.  

United will certainly be looking to build on their impressive start to Europe’s Premier competition. On match day one they secured a 2-1 win against Paris Saint Germain at the Parc Des Princes. 

Since then, Solskjaer’s side were involved in a rather dull Premier League encounter at Old Trafford this past weekend, a 0-0 draw with Chelsea.

This subsequently meant that it was the first time the Red Devils have failed to win any of their first three home games in the League since the 1972-73 campaign. 

RB Leipzig, meanwhile, are coming into this match in good form having won four out of their last five games. They currently lead the German Bundesliga after the opening five games.   

In addition, Julian Naglesmann’s team began their Champions League campaign with a 2-0 over Turkish side Istanbul Basaksehir. Manchester City loanee Angelino scored both of the goals. 

Manchester United Team News

Solskjaer has suggested ahead of this game that there are a few knocks. Centre-back Eric Bailly and midfielder Jesse Lingard are likely to be the only absentees for their Group H clash.

French forward Antony Martial will also be available despite his domestic ban still being in force. 

One topic that enviably has come up in the pre-match conference is the lack of opportunities currently being given to the Dutch new signing Donny Van de Beek.  The 23 year old has yet to start a Premier League or Champions League tie for his new club.  

Indeed, Van de Beek has, however, looked impressive when he has been used from the bench so far, scoring in a 3-1 defeat to Crystal Palace on the opening day of the season, while he also involved in the winning of the last minute penalty that secured victory at Brighton.  

Both Sky pundit and former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher and also ex-Dutch international Marco Van Bastan have already questioned why Van de Beek moved to Old Trafford, with the former suggesting he would not get in ahead of Bruno Fernandes, while the latter has stated that his fellow country man will live to regret his £40 million pound move from Ajax.

Solskjaer has since said:

“When Donny has played he has played really well.  It says a lot about our depth of squad that we don’t have to use him every game. 

“It’s nice for some players and commentators to have a little go, but you have to know that you don’t have to start the first three games to be a very important player in the squad.”  

RB Leipzig Team News

Despite missing the goals and assists of Chelsea’s new attack Timo Werner that has not hindered RB Leipzig’s impressive development.

RB Leipzig coach Julian Nagelsmann will, however, likely be without both Lukas Klostermann and Konrad Laimer (both knee injuries) for the German side’s first ever meeting with United.  While both midfielders Tyler Adams and Nordi Mukiele are also doubts.

Former Crystal Palace striker, Alexander Sorloth would be available for Nagelsmann. Sorloth joined RB Leipzig in the summer from Trabozonspor and could partner Yussuf Pouslen up front. French defender Ibrahima Konate is also fit again.   

The Mangers Thoughts

When asked about building on that win against PSG in the pre match press conference Solskjaer said:

“We look at every single game as a chance to get three points and in the group stage of four teams, you’d think 10 points will get you through.

“To get 18 points though ultimately is the aim.”

When asked about Manchester United’s impressive result in Paris, Julian Nagelsmann said:

“When I analyse an opponent I do not look at the results.  I try to find out how they score goals, concede, and build up play, counter attack, counter press and other things. 

“We know that their (League) start was not that good, but at the end it is one of the biggest clubs in the world, a big name in European football and world football.

“I’ve never played in Old Trafford or been there. It will be a great experience.”

Key Player

For Manchester United Bruno Fernandes I reckon holds the key to them getting a result in this game. The Portuguese international is the Red Devil’s top scorer so far and ultimately has that ability to make things happen and provide the spark that could make the difference in what I predict will be a tricky encounter for Ole’s men.

The German side will be looking to their impressive young centre back Dayot Upamecano. Upamecano made his debut for France last month and was crucial in Leipzig’s quarterfinal victory over Atletico Madrid last season.

Match Prediction: Manchester United 1-1 RB Leipzig

I am predicting another draw at home for Ole’s side. I reckon this is a harder encounter for them then the one in Paris as the emphasis will be on the Red Devil’s to have more possession and try to break the German side down. This is something that United have traditionally struggled with over the past few seasons. For this reason I will go for a score draw.

24-7 Football Webcast and Podcast Series

The next instalment in 24-7 football’s podcast series – This episode features writer Tom Parker and in the first part looks at his background in sports journalism and also how Manchester City were able to overturn their two year European football ban.

The second part of the third episode that features writer Tom Parker. We look at the race for the top four in the Premier League and also examine whether current RB Leipzig coach, Julian Nagelsmann will manage in England’s top flight.

You can listen to both parts of the podcast by clicking on links below:

https://soundcloud.com/adam-stephens-425096853/24-7-football-episode-three-part-one

https://soundcloud.com/adam-stephens-425096853/24-7-football-podcast-episode-three-part-two

You can also watch the webcast here: 

 

Chelsea complete signing of Timo Werner

The 24-year-old German International Timo Werner will join the London side in July. 

Werner will see out the rest of the Bundesliga campaign with RB Leipzig. The player also announced his move on Twitter.

 

The forward has long been touted for a career at the top of the game since he broke through at Stuttgart and while he never hit huge numbers there was plenty of promise about him.  After turning 18 Werner signed a professional contract until June 2018 with VfB Stuttgart. He went on to score 13 goals in 95 league appearances, during which time he became the youngest player to make 50 Bundesliga appearances in the competition’s history. After the side were relegated he joined the then newly-promoted RB Leipzig in 2016.

He signed a four-year deal with a fee of 10 million euros- a club record at the time. Werner ended his first campaign with 21 Bundesliga goals as Leipzig qualified for the Champions League for the first time in their history. He is currently enjoying the most prolific season of his career so far having scored 32 goals and garnered 13 assists in 43 appearances in all competitions.

He has represented Germany at all youth levels (under-15’s through to under-21’s) scoring 34 goals in 48 matches. He has since scored 11 goals in 29 appearances for the senior national side.

Werner said:

“I am delighted to be signing for Chelsea, it is a very proud moment for me to be joining this great club. I of course want to thank RB Leipzig, the club and the fans, for four fantastic years. You will forever be in my heart. I look forward to next season with my new team-mates, my new manager and of course the Chelsea fans. Together we have a very successful future ahead of us.”

Chelsea Director Marina Granovskaia added:

We are very excited that Timo Werner has chosen to join Chelsea. He is a player who was coveted all over Europe and it is no surprise, he has that rare mix of being young and exciting and yet established and proven. We can’t wait to have Timo on board, but until then we wish him and RB Leipzig all the best for the rest of this season.”

Werner’s game plays off his pace and movement between the defensive lines. He is agile and able to find space regularly and his attacking runs are sure to cause many defences problems this season. He is certainly clinical and in a Chelsea side that have plenty of creative flair he is a player that could thrive under Lampard. With the addition of Hakim Ziyech they could have a formidable front three next season. After a positive first season Chelsea will be hoping to qualify for the Champions League, with it giving them to chance to attract more star players and build a title-winning formula under Lampard.

Julian Nagelsmann – The Wonderkid Coach

As football fans we always seem to discuss who will be the next top player and which young stars are likely to reach their potential. One thing fans don’t always talk about is coaches and that will be the focus for this article. Football is having what we could call a “transition” period – all the top clubs are having issues of their own. Real Madrid and Barcelona are not the same forces they used to be and are trying to get back to their own glory days, particularly in Europe. The same applies for Manchester United, Bayern Munich, Juventus and even Arsenal. Liverpool remain the only complete article in terms of an elite team, what this means is new clubs have been given the opportunity to push for success and new coaches are all vying to leave their imprint on a changing football landscape.

We’ve seen a trend in younger managers being appointed with the hope of long-term success: Mikel Arteta, Frank Lampard, Marco Rose and Erik Ten Hag are just some examples of younger coaches aiming to create their own philosophy and ethos. However, none of them are as young as 32-year-old Julian Nagelsmann who is currently the manager of RB Leipzig.

Nagelsmann made headlines in 2015 when he was appointed head coach of Hoffenheim at the staggeringly young age of 28 – the youngest ever Bundesliga head coach. Hoffenheim were embroiled in a relegation battle and the local media ridiculed the decision. The man nicknamed ‘Baby Mourinho’ by former Hoffenheim keeper Tim Wiese defied the odds and steered the club away from relegation. They won seven of their 14 remaining games to finish one point above the relegation play-off spot. They subsequently made key signings the next summer: Andrej Kramaric from Leicester, midfielders Lukas Rupp from Stuttgart and Kevin Vogt from Cologne, plus former Bayern Munich forward Sandro Wagner from Darmstadt. With the momentum carrying on, Nagelsmann guided them to 4th place and their first ever taste of Champions League football. He then guided them to 3rd in his next season, before struggling the season after as they finished down in 9th. 

It was at the end of this campaign that he signed a four-year deal with RB Leipzig on the 21st June 2019.  Nagelsmann’s success with RB Leipzig has been well documented.  He has been able to implement his attacking style of play on to a team with better players, Timo Werner has been the biggest beneficiary of his system.

At Hoffenheim, Nagelsmann primarily used a 5-3-2 formation with his players being able to rotate through positions to cover each flank. RB Leipzig focused on a pressing style of football, which allowed them to slow down and reduce attacking impetus. This enabled them to provide themselves with options for counter-attacking. They attacked through the middle using Niklas Sule or Sebastian Rudy, with their strikers laying the ball off. At Leipzig he’s been able to rotate between a back four and back five depending on the opponent. Like with Hoffenheim, his Leipzig team are able to play fluidly with players that can rotate positionally and that can press opponents off the ball to concentrate play on specific flanks in order to increase turnovers. Allowing his opposition to play using the touchline means they can set pressing traps by using their narrow shape to overload the targeted side and keep shape within transition. 

In attack they rely on diagonal passes being made available through the use of ‘U’ shapes within midfield. This allows Leipzig to utilise either two advanced midfielders including a deeper pivot, or have one of their strikers move into a deeper position with a midfielder pushing on.

Another crucial cog in Nagelsmann’s style of play is a target man. This allows him to have a player, which his team can use as an advanced pivot to start attacks or relieve pressure of the defense by holding up long balls. It also means they can break the lines in attack with the target man being able to play passes to advanced runners.

RB Leipzig aim to have five forwards in attack: utilising two wingers, two inside forwards and a central striker. This shape allows them to play short passes in and around the box and create spaces for through balls. Dynamic midfielders such as Christopher Nkunku and Marcel Sabitzer have really helped show how Nagelsmann’s system work well with technically gifted and expressive players.

Having a five at the back allows the wing-backs to join in attacks but when changing to a four man defence they can use the extra midfielders to use an even more narrow shape. The front two become more involved in the press but also serve as the catalysts for counter-attacks. The wide midfielders can subsequently tuck in to form a 4-2-2-2 shape. Emil Forsberg and Timo Werner can also rotate within a 4-2-3-1 in order to use Forsberg’s creative passing in central areas, with runners playing off him. The addition of Dani Olmo in January means that 4-2-2-2 is certainly more dynamic and again more fluency with the plethora of attacking players. Their defence has also been a key anchor point in their success. Dayot Upamecano, Nordi Mukiele and Lukas Klostermann are some of the best examples of the talent they possess defensively not to mention Tyler Adams who has shown vast improvement under Nagelsmann too. The RB Leipzig coach has shown his ability not only to fit players into his way of playing but also improve them within that system.

Nagelsmann has proved himself to be the best young manager in the world. His tactical versatility and ability to create fluid shapes has led him to great success already. This was typified with their Champions League victory over Spurs. The ‘baby Mourinho’ showed up his older counterpart as they played them off the park in both legs. While their title challenge has faltered this season with one too many draws, his side are showing plenty of promise and could very easily improve their push for the Bundesliga title next season. If they can keep hold of some of their key players or find suitable replacements, you could see RB Leipzig evolve into a strong side over the coming years. Whether Julian Nagelsmann stays with the German side or not, it will certainly be interesting to see how his career develops.