RB Leipzig took a big step towards reaching getting to the Champions League knockout stage with an 3-2 win at home against Real Madrid on Tuesday.
The German team are second in Group F , with nine points, one point better than the leaders Real and three points clear of Shakhtar Donetsk who they’ll face in their final game of the group next week, and will need the draw to secure the top two spots.
In the wake of Real Madrid already having qualified for the final 16 the manager Carlo Ancelotti rested several regular players and his team were dominating early by the young Leipzig team.
“We conceded two goals from two set pieces and then the game was the kind of game that they wanted, playing on the counterattack, they’re very good at that,” Ancelotti told reporters following the game. “We controlled the game, but suffered on the counter. It was the two goals we conceded that made it the game they wanted.”
The home team scored the first goal just 13 minutes into the game when Josko Gvardiol scoring off the rebound of a Thibaut Courtois save following an explosive header from Andre Silva.
The European champions still recovering the initial strike, Leipzig extended their lead after five minutes after David Raum tried to pass to the box but the ball was snatched off by an opponent to the direction of Christopher Nkunku who was quick to react and smashed the ball into the crossbar.
Leipzig was able to create two more fantastic chances However, Courtois was able to stop Amadou Haidara’s shot at the far edge. Nkuku made a long-range shot off the line after thwarting the Madrid goalkeeper but settling for a narrow angle as he tried to reach the empty net.
“I think we came out very distracted in the beginning of the game and were caught sleeping against a team that is very aggressive,” Courtois declared following the game. “Coach Ancelotti had warned us prior to the game that they’re a fierce team at home, extremely aggressive, yet we were slow to start and ended up paying the price.
“It’s unacceptable our performance in the beginning of the match, we can’t concede two goals from corners in the start of the match.”
Vinicius Junior brought Real back in the game shortly before the break, with the ball that hit just within the left post.
However, the Timo Werner strike from close the goal to end a swift attack in the 80th minute , put Leipzig 3-1 ahead.
“We knew Madrid were strong on the ball and there would be phases where we were pushed back,” Werner stated. “[Manager Marco] Rose told us to remain calm when we were in possession, and that’s the way we went about it.
“We have achieved what we wanted. We have it in our own hands (to go through to the last 16) and don’t even need to win against Shakhtar now.”
After being taken off, Rodrygo got up to take advantage of a penalty that Real scored for their second goal after the added time, but it was not enough to save their first defeat in every competition this season.
“I’m not angry, a defeat annoys us but it’s a defeat that doesn’t hurt us a lot,” Ancelotti stated. “We are in a position to win the title in the league against Celtic. It has be happening at some point and it’s happening today. I’m not going to be too negative about a team which has been so successful until the moment.
“You learn more from a defeat than 10 wins in a row. We weren’t convincing from set pieces tonight.”