bundesliga

RB Leipzig stay third after turning the tables on Bayer Leverkusen in six-goal thriller

Second-half goals from Timo Werner, Emil Forsberg and Matheus Cunha cancelled out a Kai Havertz brace as RB Leipzig came from behind to claim all three points in a ding-dong battle with top-four hopefuls Bayer Leverkusen at the BayArena.

Bayer Leverkusen 2-4 RB Leipzig

Goals: 1-0 Havertz (pen. 11’), 1-1 Sabitzer (17’), 2-1 Havertz (23’), 2-2 Werner (64’), 2-3 Forsberg (pen. 71’), 2-4 Cunha (83')

Without last weekend’s hat-trick hero Yussuf Poulsen - missing because of a cold - Leipzig struggled to find their usual rhythm in the early stages. Leverkusen took full advantage, and when Willi Orban conceded a penalty for a foul on Kevin Volland in the 11th minute, Havertz sent Peter Gulacsi the wrong way to put the hosts ahead. Leipzig winger Marcel Sabitzer levelled against the run of play with a well-taken free-kick past a wrong-footed Lukas Hradecky, only for a superb first-time effort from 19-year-old Germany international Havertz to restore Bayer’s lead.

Leipzig coach Ralf Rangnick sent on half-time reinforcements in the form of Nordi Mukiele and Cunha, and the changes paid dividends. After an offside decision - confirmed upon consultation with the Video Assistant Referee - denied Leverkusen's Leon Bailey his sixth goal of the season, Werner swept home to bring Leipzig level following a period of sustained pressure. VAR was called on again to confirm a Mitchell Weiser handball, allowing Forsberg to slam the visitors in front for the first time. Substitute Cunha put the icing on the cake with an audacious solo goal, spinning Jonathan Tah and chipping over Hradecky, to rubber-stamp the turnaround and cement Leipzig's position in the top three.

Leipzig goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi had kept clean sheets in his previous four Bundesliga matches. - imago images / Nordphoto

Match stats

  • Leipzig are unbeaten in their last 10 Bundesliga matches.
  • Havertz has a 100 per cent record from the penalty spot in the Bundesliga (two from two). He has now scored four Bundesliga braces, including three this season.
  • Leipzig conceded for the first time in 438 Bundesliga minutes.
  • Sabitzer has scored both of Leipzig's direct free-kick goals this season.
  • Werner has registered two goals and as many assists in his last three Bundesliga outings.
  • Forsberg has scored two in his last two after going eight matches without a goal.

Line-ups

Leverkusen: Hradecky – Weiser, Tah, S. Bender, Wendell – Baumgartlinger (Alario 72'), Aranguiz – Havertz, Brandt, Bailey – Volland (c) (Paulinho 81')
Unused subs: Özcan, Dragovic, Kiese Thelin, Jedvaj, Kohr
Out: Bellarabi (hamstring), L. Bender (thigh)
Coach: Peter Bosz

Leipzig: Gulacsi – Klostermann (Mukiele 46'), Konate, Orban (c), Halstenberg – Sabitzer, Kampl, Haidara (Cunha 46'), Laimer - Forsberg (Demme 85') – Werner
Unused subs: Mvogo, Ilsanker, Bruma, Augustin
Out: Adams (groin), Nukan (ankle), Poulsen (cold), Smith Rowe (groin), Upamecano (knee)
Coach: Ralf Rangnick

Watch Forsberg: "We can beat anyone at 100%"