RB Leipzig defender Marcel Halstenberg scored a first career brace to fire his side to a 2-1 victory away to fellow European hopefuls Borussia Mönchengladbach.
Borussia Mönchengladbach 1-2 RB Leipzig
Goals: 0-1 Halstenberg (pen. 17'), 0-2 Halstenberg (53'), 1-2 Plea (61')
With the two teams on the hunt for a top-four finish, this game was never going to disappoint and it was an absorbing spectacle right from the off. Gladbach forward Alassane Plea had the first sight of goal in the fourth minute, curling an effort just wide of the post, before Emil Forsberg went close at the other end with low drive that Yann Sommer did well to keep out. The deadlock was eventually broken by an unlikely source, Halstenberg converting from the penalty spot after Patrick Herrmann tripped him in the box. The match remained an open affair and although there were further chances at either end for Plea and Timo Werner, among others, there was no change to the scoreline before the interval.
That soon changed early in the second half when Halstenberg collected Forsberg's pass, jinked past a defender and slotted in his second of the match from a tight angle. Yet just when it looked like the visitors might run away with things as the game opened up even more, Gladbach got themselves back into it from Plea's smart finish after doing well to hold off Nordi Mukiele. Werner had the chance to kill the match off shortly afterwards when he raced clear to go one-on-one with Sommer, but the Gladbach goalkeeper read his shot well and made a good save. That set up a nail-biting finale as the Foals pushed for an equaliser, Herrmann volleying just wide at one end and Halstenberg hitting the post and Yussuf Poulsen tickling the side netting at the other. Leipzig were ultimately able to hold on, though, registering a seventh successive away win that all but assures them of third place.
- Leipzig coach Ralf Rangnick named an unchanged starting line-up for two consecutive league games for the first time this season.
- Halstenberg has scored both penalties he has taken in the Bundesliga this term.
- The Germany international netted his first ever career brace in this game.
- Plea hit his 12thBundesliga goal of the season, but just his second since the turn of the year.
- Leipzig have now won 18 of the 19 Bundesliga games this season in which they have scored the first goal.
- Gladbach are the first team to score against Leipzig in the second half of a game in 2019.
Gladbach: Sommer (c) – Ginter, Strobl, Jantschke – Herrmann (Traore 86'), Kramer, Zakaria, Hazard – Neuhaus (Hofmann 62') – Raffael (Wendt 79'), Plea
Unused subs: Sippel, Beyer, Johnson, Cuisance
Out: Doucoure (thigh), Lang (hip), Poulsen (ankle), Stindl (shin)
Coach: Dieter Hecking
Leipzig: Gulacsi – Klostermann, Mukiele, Konate, Halstenberg – Sabitzer, Kampl (c), Laimer – Forsberg (Haidara 74') – Cunha (Poulsen 46'), Werner (Orban 81')
Unused subs: Müller, Bruma, Smith Rowe, Demme
Out: Adams (groin), Augustin (stomach bug), Mvogo (knee), Upamecano (knee)
Coach: Ralf Rangnick