Timo Werner scored one and set up another as RB Leipzig picked up a precious win at Celtic to go second in UEFA Champions League Group F.
Celtic 0-2 RB Leipzig
Goals: 0-1 Werner 75' (assist: Silva), 2-0 Forsberg 84' (assist: Werner)
Leipzig's 3-1 win in the reverse fixture last week left Celtic playing catch up at the bottom of the standings. The hosts thus started in a hurry in front of a full house at Celtic Park. In the opening minute, Liel Abada sent in a testing cross from the right that was met by Daizen Maeda, who stooped to head narrowly off target. Leipzig rallied, but couldn't make their subsequent dominance tell, with Dominik Szoboszlai and Werner failing to find the breakthrough. As the half ticked on, the Bhoys grew in confidence and they were inches from hitting the front when Matt O’Riley's left-footed shot bounced back off the foot of a post. An offside flag would have frustrated the hosts had Greg Taylor's follow-up gone in instead of hitting the crossbar. At the other end, Christopher Nkunku's patience nearly paid off when the France international was presented with an opportunity to open the scoring, only to see his low shot saved by the outstretched foot of goalkeeper Joe Hart.
With news filtering through that Shakhtar Donetsk had taken an early second-half lead against section leaders Real Madrid in the group's other game, both of these teams knew there was all to play for in terms of qualifying. In spite of that, the game's big opening failed to arrive until the final quarter of an hour. David Raum's pass in for Andre Silva was well controlled by the Portuguese striker, whose cut-back was met perfectly by Werner's powerful close-range header. The goal deflated Celtic Park, but there was worse to come for the hosts. Emil Forsberg had only been on the pitch a matter of minutes when he was found by Werner before the Swede brilliantly found the top corner with a clever finish. With Shakhtar ultimately denied by a last-gasp goal in Warsaw, Leipzig were able to jump into second spot with two games to go.
- Leipzig won away from home for the first time under Rose (D1, L2).
- Werner has seven goals and four assists in 13 competitive games since returning to Leipzig.
- Forsberg edged back in front of Nkunku as Leipzig's record scorer in the competition with 10 goals.
- Silva has nine goals and four assists in 16 Champions League starts.
- Leipzig have won all three fixtures at home to Scottish clubs, and have now picked up their first win away in Scotland.
- Celtic have kept only one clean sheet in their last 24 European fixtures, conceding 57 times – including nine this season.
Celtic: Hart - Juranovic, Jenz, Carter-Vickers (c), Taylor - O'Riley, Hatate (Mooy 66') – Abada (Forrest 42'), Haksabanovic (Turnbull 66'), Maeda (Bernabei 80') - Furuhashi (Giakoumakis 66')
Unused subs: Nickisch, Siegrist, McCarthy, Abildgaard, Robertson, Ralston, Welsh
Out: McGregor (knee), Starfelt (knee)
Coach: Ange Postecoglou
Leipzig: Blaswich – Simakan (Henrichs 76'), Orban (c), Gvardiol, Raum – Haidara (Diallo 83'), Schlager – Szoboszlai (Forsberg 76'), Nkunku (Novoa 88'), Werner – Silva (Poulsen 76')
Unused subs: Nickisch, Ba, Kampl
Out: Gulacsi (knee), Klostermann (ankle), Laimer (ankle), Olmo (knee)
Coach: Marco Rose
As it happened
A superb win for Leipzig thanks to those second-half goals from Werner and Forsberg means the visitors have done the double over Celtic and done their chances of qualifying from this group no harm at all. With Real Madrid scoring a last gasp equaliser against Shakhtar Donetsk in the group's other game, Leipzig jump to second in Group F behind the Spanish giants.
SILENT CELTIC PARK
Understandably, the home stadium has fallen into an incredible hush. Leipzig's two late goals have stunned the hosts.
RBL ADD ANOTHER
That is surely that! Werner controls brilliantly in the box and tees up substitute Forsberg who rifles in to the top corner for 2-0.
GOAL! 0 : 2
CELTIC OFF TARGET
Giakoumakis is at the far post and looks certain to score but he can't make proper contact with the ball and the chance goes wide.
BLASWICH DENIES O'RILEY
O'Riley has a shot at target but Blaswich makes a two-handed save to palm over.
GOAL TIME WERNER!
Leipzig lead ! Raum gets the ball through for Silva, who keeps it in and cuts back for the onrushing Werner. The striker pummels in a header from close range and the visitors are flying!
Penalty check here after Hart races off his line to save from Nkunku. No chance that was ever going to be a spot kick after the keeper made clean contact with the ball.
HART ON TOP
Raum crosses from the left and Nkunku can't quite get enough on his header to trouble Joe Hart. The goalkeeper denies the France international soon afterwards with a save low down to his right from Nkunku's weak shot.
SIMAKAN OFF TARGET
Simakan hoofs over the crossbar from close range and we still await the night's first goal.
Werner's shot on goal has Hart diving but the defender gets there first to block. It's end to end now.
Forrest whips in a cross-shot that has Blaswich wary enough to leap and raise a hand. The ball whips out towards the far touchline.
Celtic give it away and Leipzig have a chance to break. Nkunku rolls the ball in for Szoboszlai, who loses his footing at a crucial moment. The hosts can clear.
Marco Rose is roaring at his players to raise their game here. Celtic are just edging this second half and are in control at what feels like a crucial stage of the match.
The ball is pulled back for Kyogo Furuhashi whose shot at goal is blocked by Schlager.
This game has gone up a couple of gears compared to the first half. The challenges are flying in and the pace is at the higher end.
SO CLOSE LEIPZIG
That really was a massive save from Hart, who, just when it looked like he'd been nutmegged by Orban, sat on the ball at the last moment.
HART STOPS ORBAN
Joe Hart makes a very important save to deny WIlli Orban from close range. Celtic's goalkeeper has kept his team level there.
Andre Silva runs at the Celtic defence and spurns a couple of chances to cross into the danger zone. He does, however, win a corner, but the visitors fail to make it count.
GAME BACK ON!
We are back underway in the second half ...
HALF TIME !
No goals at the break but both sides have had chances in this game. All to play for in the second half.
NKUNKU CHANCE !
This is a good opportunity for the visitors. Nkunku gets his head down and batters a shot goalwards from inside the area. Hart throws out a foot and deflects wide. Orban heads over from the resulting corner.
Raum with one more delivery that doesn't really cut it. The cross fails to find a teammate and Celtic breathe a sigh of relief.
CELTIC CHANGE IMMINENT
Abada flew into a challenge with Raum earlier and has struggled ever since. The Celtic No. 11 can't continue ...
Tidy move from Leipzig. Szoboszlai plays in Werner who back heels for Raum. The Leipzig full back hits a cross shot that curves away from the target and the danger passes.
Hatate's foul on Schlager earns the Celtic man a booking.
Furuhashi this time dives and heads over the bar as Celtic continue to grow in confidence. There looked to be another offside in that move.
HOSTS GO CLOSE
O'Riley's low drive cannons back off the foot of the post. The follow up from Taylor hits the crossbar! Whatever about the first effort, had Taylor's gone in it would not have counted as Maeda was in an offside position.
Celtic have the home fans right on their feet now. After a decent spell of pressure, Haksabanovic drills in a shot from the left which Blaswich blocks out. The subsequent corner comes to nothing.
WERNER TAKES AIM
Timo Werner bursts forward on the left, gets into the Celtic box and takes aim. After opening up his body for a stab at the far post, the Leipzig forward's shot is blocked.
HART ON POINT
Raum drills a low cross in from the left. Hart gets down ad gathers with relative ease.
Celtic finally enjoy a brief foray forward but Leipzig break through Werner, who feeds Nkunku. The France forward picks out Haidara on the edge of the area and his shot is crucially blocked by O'Riley.
It's been pretty much all Leipzig since that early scare for Marco Rose's side. Celtic are struggling to make it into the visitors's half.
LEIPZIG COME AGAIN
Raum crosses from the left towards Szoboszlai but Carter-Vickers manages to get a crucial touch on the ball and Celtic clear their lines. Leipzig the better team in these opening stages.
SECOND SET PIECE
Szoboszlai with a free kick from the opposite side this time. The ball is deflected into the arms of Joe Hart and Celtic build from the back.
Dominik Szoboszlai whips a corner in from the left that flashes through the box and away from danger.
RBL CALL FOR CALM
Leipzig are passing it around the back now, trying to take the sting out of Celtic's energetic start. The boos ring out around the stadium.
MAEDA GOES CLOSE
Celtic with a BIG chance early doors. Maeda heads over the crossbar when well positioned in the centre. A real fright for the visitors there.
Celtic get us underway in Glasgow!
The home fans are belting out You'll Never Walk Alone as we await the appearance of the two teams.
A good omen for the visitors this evening is the fact that Celtic have lost their last six Champions League home games. That said, Leipzig will have to improve on their away record in the tournament if they are to leave with maximum points this evening. Die Roten Bullen have won just two of their last ten on the road in European football's top competition.
SILVA SEEKING TEN
Andre Silva's double in last week's reverse fixture brought the Portuguese striker to nine goals in 17 overall appearances in the Champions League. The 26-year-old will look to be a key figure once more against Celtic this evening.
Whatever else happens this evening, we seem destined to see some goals here. Of Leipzig’s previous 33 UEFA Champions League matches, none have finished scoreless.
LEIPZIG TEAM NEWS
Marco Rose makes four changes to the team that started the weekend draw against Mainz. Mohamed Simakan, David Raum and Josko Gvardiol are all back in defence while Andre Silva takes his place up top with Emil Forsberg dropping to the bench.
CELTIC TEAM NEWS
The hosts are without their influential captain Callum McGregor, who limped out of last week's game with a serious knee injury. Another of those to miss out for the Bhoys is Jota, who scored his team's goal in the 3-1 defeat in Leipzig. The Portuguese attacker has failed to recover from a muscular injury.
Nickisch, Poulsen, Forsberg, Ba, Diallo, Novoa, Henrichs, Kampl
LEIPZIG STARTING XI
Blaswich – Simakan, Orban (c), Gvardiol, Raum – Haidara, Schlager – Szoboszlai, Nkunku, Werner – Silva
Nickisch, Siegrist, Giakoumakis, Mooy, Turnbull, McCarthy, Bernabei, Abildgaard, Robertson, Forrest, Ralston, Welsh
CELTIC STARTING XI
Juranovic, Jenz, Carter-Vickers (c), Taylor - O'Riley, Hatate – Abada, Haksabanovic, Maeda - Furuhashi
THE NKUNKU FACTOR
Nkunku scored one and had another ruled out against Celtic last week. The France international was on target again at the weekend to take his tally for the season to 10 goals and one assist in 14 competitive games. Last term, he registered 35 goals and 20 assists in 52 appearances in all competitions, earning the 2021/22 Bundesliga Player of the Season gong for his efforts. #Talisman.
"It's a great stadium, with fantastic fans. The atmosphere will be great and we're expecting a good crowd that understands football and not only supports their team, but also appreciates it when the opposition plays well," commented Leipzig head coach Marco Rose in his pre-match press conference. "We want to achieve that tomorrow. The atmosphere will be great, and we're looking forward to a big game. The team look good. We'll need to increase the intensity and show the right mindset, attitude and body language. I'm confident that the lads will do this."
Silva scored twice in the reverse fixture, but dropped to the bench for Saturday's 1-1 draw in Mainz. The Portugal striker is expected back in the starting line-up at the expense of Forsberg, while Blaswich should continue in goal after Gulacsi suffered an ACL tear on Matchday 3. Nyland, who was signed as cover on Sunday, will likely get his chance in Saturday's meeting with Hertha.
MORE OF THE SAME, PLEASE!
Leipzig ran out 3-1 winners over Celtic on UEFA Champions League Matchday 3. It was their first victory of the current European campaign - a second in a row could take them second in Group F....