An inspired Christopher Nkunku scored one and set up another for Yussuf Poulsen as RB Leipzig beat Borussia Dortmund to break into the top five, at least for a night.
Fresh from some more of his habitual heroics against Paris Saint-Germain in midweek, the in-form Nkunku went close to breaking the deadlock when he plotted a path through the Dortmund defence but was denied by Gregor Kobel. Following up, Dominik Szoboszlai turned the rebound wide of the far post. Nkunku was proving to be a menace each time he touched the ball and when Josko Gvardiol threaded a perfectly weighted pass into his path, there could only be one outcome. The Frenchman skipped past Kobel and tucked the ball into the open goal, giving Leipzig a deserved lead. Dortmund managed to muster only one shot on goal in the first 45 minutes, and that was blocked by their own player with Donyell Malen getting in the way of Jude Bellingham's effort, but nothing was getting in the way of Leipzig leading at the break.
Dortmund reorganised at the start of the second half with Thorgan Hazard taking his place in a four-man defence, and the change in tactics helped them find previously hidden gaps in the Leipzig armoury. Thomas Meunier took a leaf out of the Gvardiol book of assists with a perfectly timed and executed pass for Marco Reus, whose first touch was outstanding to set himself up for a sweeping shot past Peter Gulacsi to bring the guests level. Kobel then made a remarkable double save, first to deny Mohamed Simakan and then, while falling to the ground, kicking the ball away from Szoboszlai with his trailing leg. The irresistible Nkunku almost restored Leipzig's lead when he waltzed his way through the Dortmund defence and sent a low shot against the post, before he set up Poulsen to restore Leipzig's advantage from close range. Nordi Mukiele had a goal ruled out for offside as the hosts looked to turn the screw, but another goal was not needed as Leipzig took the spoils in style.
- With five goals and three assists, Nkunku has had a hand in a third of Leipzig's Bundesliga goals this season.
- All of his league goals have come at the Red Bull Arena.
- Poulsen has scored in three consecutive Bundesliga fixtures for the fist time in his career.
- Reus scored his 102nd goal for Dortmund, joining Stephane Chapuisat. Only Manfred Burgsmüller, Michael Zorc and Lothar Emmerich have more Bundesliga goals for Dortmund.
- All five of Leipzig’s wins this season have come at the Red Bull Arena, where they have scored 19 goals in the process.
- Leipzig are now unbeaten in seven league outings (W4, D3)
Watch: Nkunku on playing as a striker against Dortmund
Leipzig: Gulacsi (c) - Mukiele, Simakan, Gvardiol - Henrichs (Forsberg 59'), Adams, Haidara (Laimer 84'), Angelino - Nkunku (Olmo 84'), Szoboszlai - Poulsen (Silva 69')
Unused subs: Martinez, Brobbey, Moriba, Novoa, Kampl
Out: Halstenberg (ankle), Klostermann (thigh), Orban (thigh), Saracchi (knee)
Coach: Jesse Marsch
Dortmund: Kobel - Akanji, Hummels, Pongracic (Knauff 46') - Meunier, Bellingham, Witsel (Zagadou 86'), Hazard - Brandt (Reinier 82'), Reus (c) - Malen (Moukoko 71')
Unused subs: Hitz, Tigges, Passlack, Papadopoulos
Out: Can (muscular), Dahoud (knee), Guerreiro (muscular), Haaland (hip), Morey (knee), Reyna (thigh), Schmelzer (knee), Schulz (muscular), Wolf (thigh)
Coach: Marco Rose
Watch: Poulsen: "We're very lucky to have Nkunku"