Three against rival Bayer
RB Leipzig advances in the battle for the first class
04/17/2022, 9:28 PM
In the Champions League scramble for a start behind Bayern and Dortmund, RB Leipzig gets on the air in a head-to-head duel with rival Leverkusen. The victory in the Sunday evening game puts the Saxons in third place – and Bayer in fourth.
Coach Domenico Tedesco jumped into the arms of the replaced Tyler Adams and let out a cheerful shriek. Between the European Cup ceremony in Bergamo and the cup highlights against 1. FC Union Berlin, RB Leipzig celebrated an important victory in the race to qualify for the UEFA Champions League. In the Bundesliga’s top game, which was only one game on paper, right-back RB beat Bayer Leverkusen 1-0 (0-0) thanks to Dominic Zubuszlai on Sunday and pushed Werkself from third place. “We are happy with the win, but I don’t think the match was good for either team,” Tedesco admitted to DAZN.
“I think we wanted it more,” said match winner Szoboszlai. Despite the numerous changes in the starting lineup, the team did not lose any quality and subsequently managed to bring in new players such as top scorer Christopher Nkunku. “It was tough because we didn’t play well,” said RB goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi, looking at the first half, and only then things got better thanks to the changes.
Leverkusen, badly injured, is now just one point ahead of Freiburg in fifth. Reaching the Champions League, the biggest and final goal of the season, will be difficult. After the final whistle, the Bayer professionals looked helpless in the evening sky. However, Freiburg will come to Leverkusen for a possible final on the last day of the match.
“It’s not enough at the moment,” Bayer goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky said and pleaded with his teammates to put their last legs together in the final round of the season. “I think this match was not worth winning,” Hradecky added.
Even twice semi-finalists from Leipzig, which moved into the Europa League semi-finals at Atalanta Bergamo last Thursday and will host Al Ittihad in the DFB Cup semi-finals next Wednesday, did not look new despite Tedesco’s big rotation. For the first time in the history of the Bundesliga, Leipzig went without a shot on goal in the first half.
That changed with second-half substitutions and Zhuboszlai scored the winning goal in the 69th minute. This meant that RB remained the best team in the second half of the league and also maintained their proud streak at Leverkusen. The Saxons remained undefeated in their sixth appearance at BayArena. Leverkusen, with whom Jonathan Tah managed to play despite bruising last week, played in a relatively defensive 3-5-2 with midfielders who were only defensive in orientation.
Leipzig interpreted the same system with the 80’s Emil Forsberg and Szoboszlai more aggressively. RB’s social media department also showed the guests’ self-confidence, announcing the lineup on Twitter with the words “Conquer Bayer”. But Tedesco shook his starting lineup again, leaving only three field players in the team compared to Bergamo’s return. The right-back RB also had very little self-image in his actions, and both teams initially tied at a tricky level, especially in midfield.
The first chance to score came in the 28th minute when Patrick Shaik released his attacking colleague Moussa Diaby, who failed from a narrow angle in the right-back goalkeeper Goulashi. Bayer also had a second chance when Schek failed to hit a cross from Iquiquel Palacios (40). At the break, Tedesco brought on the revamped Nkunku team. After 39 seconds he dribbled in the penalty area, the ball came to Szoboszlai and he hit the post. About ten minutes later, Tedesco followed up with Dani Olmo and Konrad Laimer, the second match winner from Bergamo. Leipzig was now better at the game. Nordi Mukele missed a huge opportunity to score 1-0, but Zubuszlai tapped it seconds later after Nkunko’s shot was fired.
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