bundesliga

Departing Emil Forsberg the hero as RB Leipzig beat Hoffenheim

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Substitute Emil Forsberg scored one and had a hand in another to help RB Leipzig beat Hoffenheim on his final home game for the club.

Leipzig 3-1 Hoffenheim
Goals: 1-0
Klostermann 36' (assist: Simakan), 1-1 Kabak 43' (assist: Skov), 2-1 Forsberg 70' (assist: Openda), 3-1 Simakan 74' (assist: Forsberg)

Leipzig began the tie in fourth and eager to claim three points in their final home outing of 2023. Christoph Baumgartner tested Oliver Baumann with an early drive that the Hoffenheim goalkeeper punched away. Xavi had two chances in the opening 20 minutes - one fired just over the top corner and a stinging shot in the box defused by the visiting keeper. The defensive compactness of Pellegrino Matarazzo's side restricted the number of openings coming the hosts' way, while they threatened a few times on the break via Robert Skov, Ihlas Bebou and Andrej KramarićYussuf Poulsen was the next Leipzig man to be denied after being played through by Baumgartner. The experienced Dane then nodded down a set piece for Mohamed Simakan to tee up Lukas Klostermann for an opener from close range. Leipzig appeared destined for a half-time lead, until Ozan Kabak rose to head in a superb free-kick delivery from Skov to level.  

Leipzig shrugged off the blow of conceding to continue to dominate at the start of the second period. Xaxi curled a drive smack onto the left post within minutes of the restart. Loïs Openda blasted a free-kick from 20 metres out into the wall and then wide as it rebounded to him. Anton Stach forced a great save from Janis Blaswich from a corner as Hoffenheim put out a reminder of their goal threat. Openda then whipped a delicious cross over to substitute Forsberg, who took one touch before smashing the ball into the roof of the net to restore the lead just minutes after his introduction. The Swedish club legend - whose departure on 1 January for the New York Red Bulls was confirmed straight after full-time - then rattled the crossbar from a corner and Simakan turned the ball over the line to double the advantage. Kramarić whipped a free-kick over before both Šeško and Forsberg had goals disallowed in an open final few minutes as Leipzig took a win that moves them up to third - for 24 hours at least.

Watch: Forsberg's emotional farewell after final Leipzig home game

Match stats

  • Forsberg made his 324th competitive appearance for Leipzig today (with 71 goals and 71 assists). Only Poulsen has made more appearances for the club (380).
  • Klostermann and Simakan were the 13th and 14th different Leipzig players to score this season - no other Bundesliga side have so many goalscorers.
  • Leipzig have now scored 11 goals from set pieces this season - only Heidenheim have more.
  • Leipzig's Baumgartner previously played 138 games for Hoffenheim, scoring 30 goals and laying on 22 more.
  • Hoffenheim have now scored in each of their past 19 Bundesliga matches - they have never previously gone on a longer such run.
  • Hoffenheim are now without a win in six meetings with Leipzig. 

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Teams

Leipzig: Blaswich - Henrichs, Simakan (Castello Jr. 83'), Klostermann, Raum - Baumgartner (Forsberg 66'), Haidara (Kampl 58'), Schlager, Xavi (Carvalho 83') - Openda (Šeško 83'), Poulsen (c)
Unused subs: Gulácsi, Lenz, Werner, Seiwald, Castello Jr.
Out: Olmo (shoulder), Orban (knee)
Coach: Marco Rose 

Hoffenheim: Baumann (c) - Kabak (Akpoguma 75'), Vogt, Brooks - Stach (Bischof 75') - Kadeřábek, Prömel, Skov (Grillitsch 46') - Bebou (Beier 69'), Kramarić, Bülter
Unused subs: Philipp, Nsoki, Szalai, Becker, Tohumcu
Out: Berisha (knee), Geiger (groin), John (knee), Weghorst (muscular)
Coach: Pellegrino Matarazzo