bundesliga

Christopher Nkunku earns RB Leipzig victory over Bayer Leverkusen

Christopher Nkunku scored the only goal of the game as RB Leipzig cemented second place in the Bundesliga with a 1-0 win over Bayer Leverkusen.

RB Leipzig 1-0 Bayer Leverkusen
Goal: 1-0 Nkunku (51')

Nkunku carved out the first opening of the game when he found space beyond the far post, but curled his effort wide of the opposite post. Leipzig continued to dictate proceedings with Marcel Sabitzer turning the ball into the back of the net, albeit from an offside position. Angelino tried his luck from a tight angle, volleying a Dani Olmo pass wide of the near post as Leipzig continued to dominate proceedings. Frustration started to take hold in both camps, though, with Leipzig unable to turn their possession into chances and Leverkusen struggling to get their usual game going. Nerves came to the surface as a result, and the half-time whistle arguably came just at the right time to cool the heated tempers.

Nkunku once again had the honour of delivering the first shot of the second half, and while his first effort was blocked, he scooped up the loose ball and volleyed it unstoppably past Lukas Hradecky to give Leipzig the lead. Some Hradecky heroics prevented Leipzig from doubling their advantage after an hour, as he turned Olmo's shot wide after Alexander Sorloth's effort had bounced back to the Spaniard off the post. It was a let-off which Leverkusen responded to well, with substitute Karim Bellerabi firing wide. Peter Bosz gambled further with Lucas Alario replacing full-back Tim Fosu-Mensah for the final ten minutes, but though the Argentine went agonisingly close to a late equaliser, the hosts held firm for all three points - hitting the crossbar with the last kick of the game via a Sabitzer free-kick. They return to within seven points of league-leading Bayern Munich and establish a five-point cushion over Eintracht Frankfurt in third.

Match stats

  • A league-high 15 different players have scored for Leipzig so far this season; Angelino, Forsberg and Poulsen lead the way with four apiece.
  • Fosu-Mensah made his starting debut for Leverkusen following his winter arrival from Manchester United.
  • Nkunku scored in Leverkusen last season, making them the only club he has scored against twice in the Bundesliga.
  • Dayot Upamecano was clocked at 35.43km/h (22mph) - the fastest of any Leipzig player all season.
  • Leverkusen were unbeaten after 12 matches, but have since lost five of their last seven (W1, D1).

Watch: Adams: "The Bundesliga is always intense"

Line-ups

Leipzig: Gulacsi - Mukiele (Orban 81'), Upamecano, Klostermann - Adams, Sabitzer (c), Kampl (Haidara 81'), Angelino (Halstenberg 90') - Nkunku (Kluivert 70'), Olmo - Sorloth (Poulsen 70')
Unused subs: Martinez, Hwang, Samardzic, Novoa
Out: Forsberg (knee), Henrichs (knee), Konate (ankle), Laimer (knee), Szoboszlai (groin)
Coach: Julian Nagelsmann 

Leverkusen: Hradecky - Fosu-Mensah (Alario 81'), Tah, Tapsoba, Wendell - Wirtz, Aranguiz (c), Demirbay, Sinkgraven (Bellarabi 59') - Bailey, Diaby (Schick 59')
Unused subs: Lomb, Grill, Dragovic, Palacios
Out: Amiri (not included), Arias (ankle), Baumgartlinger (knee), L.Bender (calf), S. Bender (knee), Frimpong (not included), Paulinho (knee), Weiser (thigh)
Coach: Peter Bosz 

Watch: Bailey: "We were just the unlucky team"