bundesliga

Superb Christopher Nkunku goal rules out Kevin Volland opener as RB Leipzig deny Bayer Leverkusen top spot

Kevin Volland looked to have sent Bayer Leverkusen top of the Bundesliga before Christopher Nkunku's excellent goal ensured RB Leipzig left the BayArena with a 1-1 draw.

Bayer Leverkusen 1-1 RB Leipzig
Goals: 1-0 Volland (66'), 1-1 Nkunku (78')

These two forward thinking sides did battle in typically open fashion right from the first whistle. The first chance fell the way of Leverkusen as Kai Havertz superbly released former Julian Nagelsmann prodigy Nadiem Amiri but the 22-year-old - called up by Germany for the first time this week - fired straight at Peter Gulacsi’s midriff. It sparked Leipzig into life and it was Lukas Hradecky who was the busier of the two keepers for the remainder of the half. The 29-year-old first denied Matheus Cunha before superbly saving from Timo Werner when one-on-one. Werner raced through once again shortly after, only to pass the ball wide of Hradecky’s goal, before the Slovakian was an onlooker as Cunha’s cute lob rebounded off his crossbar to safety.

The scores were somehow level going into the second period and the hosts looked a far more disciplined outfit at the restart, moving to a back-four having been carved open too often by Leipzig's famed counter-attacks. A more tactical, cat-and-mouse affair unfolded as a result and Peter Bosz's men were rewarded for their remodelling as Volland converted Charles Aranguiz's cross to score in a third successive Bundesliga game. It put the hosts on course for a victory that could have sent them top but for Nkunku's stunning equaliser. The 21-year-old - a second half replacement for Werner - took Marcel Halstenberg's cross in his stride, lifting the ball over Sven Bender and then Hradecky with the kind of quality these two sides always promised. Volland so nearly added a second at the death but for Gulacsi's excellent save, with the draw a fair result in the end.

Watch: Volland: "We can still improve"

Match stats

  • No German player has been involved in more goals this calendar year than Volland (21). He’s followed in second by Havertz and Leipzig’s Werner (both 15).
  • No team has won more Bundesliga matches over the last 13 matchdays than Leverkusen (nine).
  • Nagelsmann is unbeaten in his last five matches against Leverkusen (W2, D3) and has never lost at the BayArena. He has only been on the wrong side of the result against Leverkusen once in seven games (W4, D2, L1), back in January 2018 when his Hoffenheim side lost 4-1 at home to Die Werkself. The Red Bulls have also scored at least once in every Bundesliga game under Nagelsmann so far this season.
  • Cunha's effort that struck the bar was the fifth time this season that Leipzig have hit the woodwork; a joint-league high with Bayern Munich. They also did so twice in their Matchday 7 defeat to Schalke.
  • This was Werner's 100th Bundesliga appearance for Leipzig. The 23-year-old has scored 55 goals in that time.
  • Leipzig have won 10 of their 13 Bundesliga away games in 2019, winning more points (32) and scoring more goals (33) than any other top-flight team. They have won two and drawn two of their four visits to Leverkusen.

Line-ups

Leverkusen: Hradecky – Weiser, Tah, S. Bender, Sinkgraven (Wendell 46') – Baumgartlinger, Aranguiz (Demirbay 89') – Havertz, Amiri, Bellarabi (Diaby 76') - Volland (c)
Unused subs: Özcan, Retsos, Dragovic, Paulinho, Alario, Pohjanpolo
Out: Bailey (hamstring), L. Bender (thigh)
Coach: Peter Bosz

Leipzig: Gulacsi – Klostermann, Upamecano, Orban (c) – Laimer, Sabitzer (Schick 63'), Demme, Forsberg, Halstenberg – Cunha (Poulsen 70'), Werner (Nkunku 59')
Unused subs: Nganoma, Saracchi, Haidara, Lookman, Mukiele, Ampadu
Out: Konate (hip), Wolf (ankle), Adams (groin), Kampl (ankle)
Coach: Julian Nagelsmann