As a rule, decisive turning points in life are notoriously hard to identify in the moment, but Alexander Sorloth’s stoppage-time winner for RB Leipzig at home to Borussia Mönchengladbach on Saturday certainly has the feel of one.
So when Julian Nagelsmann’s side went in 2-0 down at half-time against Gladbach, there was a sense of the title race being over just as it was about to begin.
Watch: Highlights of Leipzig's come-from-behind win over Gladbach
Sorloth had other ideas, however. Brought off the bench for captain Marcel Sabitzer at half-time, the Norwegian forward was inspirational in Die Roten Bullen’s sensational fightback.
He provided the assist for Christopher Nkunku to begin the turnaround in the 57th minute, and after Yussuf Poulsen equalised shortly afterwards, it was one-way traffic towards the Gladbach goal as Leipzig poured forward.
They got their reward in the third minute of stoppage time when Nkunku returned the favour to Sorloth with a floated cross from the left to the back post, where the 25-year-old outjumped Valentino Lazaro to head in a dramatic winner that sealed a 3-2 triumph for the hosts, renewing the belief in their ability to sustain a tilt at the Meisterschale.
Watch: Sorloth: "A fantastic feeling"
Could that have been the moment to change the course of Leipzig’s history? It is still too early to tell, of course, but winning games from losing positions, showing the kind of fighting spirit and character to keep going and maintain pressure at the top of the table are characteristics all champions possess.
“The most important thing is the three points,” Sorloth told bundesliga.com afterwards. “To make an impact coming in at half-time, getting an assist and a goal – I’m really happy about it.
“At half-time the coach demanded that we fight more, and we did that much better in the second half. We got forward well and were a lot more dangerous in front of goal. We can be more than happy with three goals and the win.”
It was not the first time that Sorloth has found the net late on for Leipzig; in fact, the striker’s three goals for the club since arriving in September 2020 have all come in the closing stages. His first was a vital 92nd-minute winner in a 4-3 Champions League group stage triumph over Istanbul Basaksehir in December, while his second was an 89th-minute consolation in a 3-1 loss to Borussia Dortmund on Matchday 15.
Teammate Poulsen commented at the final whistle that “everybody’s thinking about winning the title” at the club, but while Sorloth himself was rather more measured in his assessment, he ruled nothing out.
“We just have to keep believing, take one game at a time and not get ahead of ourselves,” he said. “We’ll try to take three points every time and in the end we’ll have to see.”