bundesliga

Christopher Nkunku double gets RB Leipzig off the mark with Wolfsburg win

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Christopher Nkunku hit a brace as RB Leipzig collected their first Bundesliga win of the season in a 2-0 success at home to Wolfsburg.

Leipzig 2-0 Wolfsburg
Goals: 1-0 Nkunku (pen. 5'), 2-0 Nkunku 90' (assist: Werner)

Leipzig came into the game nursing a 2-1 loss at Union Berlin last week that left them in 11th place with just two points to show from their first three assignments. Head coach Domencio Tedesco had clearly given his charges a stern team talk here though, as the home side swarmed over their visitors from the outset and were soon in front when Nkunku converted a penalty following a Maxence Lacroix handball. Dani Olmo should have doubled Leipzig’s advantage after a quarter of an hour following a sloppy pass from Micky van de Ven, but the Spaniard drilled wide with just Koen Casteels to beat. It was largely one-way traffic towards the Wolfsburg goal for the remainder of the half and although Leipzig were unable to find the net again, they were completely untroubled at the other end of the pitch.

Wolfsburg put up more of a fight in the second half – quite literally at times, with Paulo Otavio and Ridle Baku earning early yellow cards as the visitors battled their way back into the game. The strategy worked, as suddenly Leipzig were on the back foot and had no response to the Wolves’ pressure: Omar Marmoush had a shot saved from the left, Lukas Nmecha’s deflected effort was well blocked by stand-in goalkeeper Janis Blaswich before Max Kruse lashed a stinging volley into the side netting and Josip Brekalo’s long-range drive was tipped over. Having weathered that storm, Leipzig had a glorious chance to kill the game off when Nkunku raced clear of the visiting backline on the counter but he skewed his angled shot wide of the near post. The 24-year-old made amends shortly before the final whistle with a close-range finish after neat interplay between Olmo and Timo Werner tore through the Wolfsburg defence, sealing a deserved first league win of the season.

Match stats

  • Nkunku has now scored 17 Bundesliga goals in the 2022 calendar year, more than any other player in the league.
  • The Frenchman took and converted his second penalty in the Bundesliga.
  • Kruse made his 50th top-flight outing for Wolfsburg.
  • The Wolves are now winless in their last eight trips to Leipzig.
  • Austrian midfielder Xaver Schlager swapped Wolfsburg for Leipzig over the summer, and made his debut for the club as a substitute in this game.

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Watch: Olmo: “We’re very happy with first win of the season”

Teams

Leipzig: Blaswich - Simakan, Orban (c), Halstenberg (Schlager 81') - Henrichs (Gvardiol 42'), Laimer, Kampl (Haidara 64'), Raum - Olmo - Nkunku, Silva (Werner 64')
Unused subs: Nickisch, Forsberg, Ba, Novoa
Out: Gulacsi (muscular), Klostermann (ankle), Poulsen (thigh), Szoboszlai (suspended)
Coach:
 Domenico Tedesco

Wolfsburg: Casteels - Baku, Lacroix, Van de Ven, Otavio - Guilavogui (F. Nmecha 46'), Arnold (c) (Svanberg 72') - Kaminski (Marmoush 46'), Kruse, Philipp (Brekalo 59') - L. Nmecha (Waldschmidt 58')
Unused subs: Pervan, Fischer, Bornauw, Franjic
Out:
 Gerhardt (ligament), Paredes (knee), Roussillon (Achilles), Wimmer (head), Wind (thigh)      
Coach:
 Niko Kovac