RB Leipzig consolidated their place in the top four with a comfortable 3-0 victory away to Hannover in the Bundesliga Matchday 20 opener on Friday evening.
Hannover 0-3 Leipzig
Goals: 0-1 Halstenberg (pen. 45+4'), 0-2 Orban (64'), 0-3 Orban (85')
New Hannover coach Thomas Doll made six changes to the side for his first game in charge, among them restoring Brazilian striker Jonathas to the starting line-up. And while the hosts battled bravely in the opening stages they struggled to create any chances against a strong Leipzig outfit, who broke the deadlock on the stroke of half-time when Marcel Halstenberg converted from the penalty spot after Matheus Cunha was fouled by Kevin Akpoguma.
If he was an unlikely scorer for Leipzig in the absence of Timo Werner - who was laid low by a cold - the next name on the scoresheet was also a surprise: Willi Orban. The central defender all but made sure of the points midway through the second half when he nodded in Halstenberg's corner, and he sealed the victory with another header from another corner - this time from Emil Forsberg - to round out an excellent team performance from Ralf Rangnick's side.
- Werner was absent from Leipzig's squad for the first time this season.
- Halstenberg's spot-kick was the first penalty he had ever taken in the Bundesliga.
- Orban's first goal was only the second header Leipzig have scored this season (after Yussuf Poulsen's effort against Hannover on Matchday 3). This was also Orban's first brace in the Bundesliga.
- It’s 11 years since Doll last took charge of a Bundesliga game. He coached Dortmund between March 2007 and May 2008, losing his final match in charge 4-1 against Wolfsburg.
- Bobby Wood, Ihlas Bebou and Hendrik Weydandt are Hannover’s joint-top scorers in 2018/19 with three goals apiece. It’s now seven matches since any of them scored, however.
- Leipzig boast the joint-best defence (18 goals conceded) in the Bundesliga this term.
Hannover: Esser – Korb, Akpoguma, Anton (c), Albornoz - Schwegler, Muslija (Wood 46'), Walace – Müller, Jonathas, Asano (Weydandt 70')
Unused subs: Sahin-Radlinger, Bakalorz, Ostrzolek, Sorg, Wimmer
Out: Bebou (thigh), Füllkrug (knee), Haraguchi (Asian Cup), Hübers (knee), Maina (knee), Elez (knee), Felipe (illness), Sarenren Bazee (shin)
Coach: Thomas Doll
Leipzig: Gulacsi (Mvogo 46') – Klostermann, Orban (c), Konate, Halstenberg – Laimer, Demme (Augustin 87'), Adams – Sabitzer, Poulsen, Cunha (Forsberg 81')
Unused subs: Saracchi, Ilsanker, Bruma, Mukiele
Out: Werner (illness), Haidara, Upamecano (both knee),Kampl (ankle)
Coach: Ralf Rangnick
Watch: Tyler Adams happy with Leipzig's momentum