Emil Forsberg and Kerem Demirbay traded stunning first-half goals for RB Leipzig and Bayer Leverkusen in an entertaining 1-1 draw at the BayArena on Saturday.
It didn’t take long for the match to develop into the attacking game of thrust and counter-thrust expected before kick-off. Dayot Upamecano had to be alert early on to stop former teammate Patrik Schick scoring at the near post, before ex-Leverkusen man Kevin Kampl blazed over at the other end following good work from Forsberg. The Swede soon showed him how it was done though, dipping past Lars Bender before rifling the opening goal past Lukas Hradecky. The hosts reacted well and equalised shortly afterwards through Demirbay, whose dipping long-range effort left Peter Gulacsi with no chance. Leverkusen were the better side after that, with Moussa Diaby, Lars Bender, Karim Bellarabi and Schick all having sights of goal, leaving Leipzig the happier of the two sides when the half-time whistle blew.
Julian Nagelsmann brought on Hwang Hee-Chan at the break and the change gave his side some much-needed attacking impetus. The South Korean was a lively presence on the flanks and was involved in setting up opportunities for Tyler Adams and Dani Olmo, neither of whom could take advantage. Florian Wirtz had the clearest chance of the half at the opposite end of the pitch, but he could only hit the post from Bellarabi’s cross. Both sides had glimpses of goal to win it as the final whistle approached, the best one falling to Angelino, but the Leipzig left-back could only drag his shot wide of the far post.
- Schick made his starting debut for Leverkusen here – against Leipzig of all teams. The Czech Republic international scored 10 Bundesliga goals on loan at Nagelsmann’s side in 2019/20.
- Forsberg scored his second goal in as many league games, making this his best-ever start to a season.
- The attacking midfielder has also registered all four of his goals against Leverkusen away from home.
- Exactly half of Demirbay’s 14 Bundesliga goals have been scored from long range.
- Alexander Sorloth made his Bundesliga debut after coming on for Yussuf Poulsen. He is the first Norwegian to play for Leipzig in Germany’s top flight.
- Sorloth top scored in the Turkish Süper Lig and domestic cup in 2019/20, with 24 and seven goals respectively.
Watch: Forsberg: "We improved in the second half"
Leverkusen: Hradecky - L. Bender (Dragovic 90'), S. Bender (Tah 58'), Tapsoba, Sinkgraven - Wirtz, Aranguiz (c), Demirbay (Amiri 78') - Bellarabi (Bailey 78'), Schick, Diaby
Unused subs: Lomb, Alario, Baumgartlinger, Wendell, Palacios
Out: Paulinho (knee)
Coach: Peter Bosz
Leipzig: Gulacsi (c) – Klostermann, Upamecano, Mukiele – Haidara, Adams, Kampl (Hwang 46'), Angelino – Olmo (Henrichs 86'), Forsberg (Nkunku 66') – Poulsen (Sorloth 27')
Unused subs: Tschauner, Orban, Samardzic
Out: Hartmann (knee), Konate (fitness), Laimer (knee), Martinez (unknown), Sabitzer (thigh)
Coach: Julian Nagelsmann
Watch: Schick: "It wasn't easy"