Goals from Christopher Nkunku and Emil Forsberg helped RB Leipzig come from behind to defeat Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 and move joint top of UEFA Champions League Group H on Wednesday.
Following Manchester United’s surprise defeat to Istanbul Basaksehir in the earlier game in Group H, both teams knew that victory at the Red Bull Arena would take them joint top of the section. It was the visitors who enjoyed the better start though, and they took an early lead in the sixth minute when Moise Kean capitalised on an uncharacteristically loose pass from Dayot Upamecano to slide a ball into Angel Di Maria, who slotted in from close range. Amadou Haidara spurned a glorious chance to equalise moments later as Keylor Navas produced a fine stop from point-blank range. The visitors were subsequently on top for the majority, with Peter Gulacsi brilliantly keeping out a Di Maria penalty, and then the Argentinian attacker and Kean both had goals ruled out for offside. Aware that they were not out of the game at just 1-0 down, however, Leipzig improved as the interval approached and pulled level thanks to Nkunku’s well-placed low drive from the edge of the box, while Dani Olmo fizzed a shot over from a similar position on the stroke of half-time.
Julian Nagelsmann's side continued to play with aggression and purpose after the break, and should have pulled ahead when a brilliant moment of skill from Forsberg left Danilo seeing stars, but the Swede blazed over from 10 yards out. He made no mistake shortly afterwards though, when the hosts were awarded a penalty after Presnel Kimpembe handled Angelino's cross, with the Leipzig No.10 drilling in from the spot. Matters went from bad to worse for the visitors when Idrissa Gueye was sent off for a second bookable offence, and although they tried to get an equaliser, the Leipzig rearguard managed to keep Di Maria and Kean in check for the remainder. PSG ended the game with nine men when Kimpembe was also shown a second yellow card for a cynical foul on Yussuf Poulsen, leaving the home side to celebrate a vital win that leaves them well placed to progress at the halfway stage of the group phase.
- Nkunku scored eight goals in 57 appearances across four seasons for PSG, before moving to Germany in 2019.
- His goal in this game was his first in the competition, in his 14th outing.
- Leipzig head coach Nagelsmann worked under PSG boss Tuchel at Augsburg after his playing career was ended by injury.
- This was the first time Nagelsmann has got the better of his former mentor in five meetings, having previously drawn one and lost three.
- Die Roten Bullen have now won 10 of their 19 Champions League matches so far, drawing three and losing six.
Leipzig: Gulacsi - Konate, Upamecano, Orban - Mukiele (Henrichs 64'), Sabitzer (c) (Kampl 90'), Haidara (Adams 76'), Angelino - Nkunku, Olmo (Poulsen 64'), Forsberg (Kluivert 76')
Unused subs: Tschauner, Martinez, Hwang, Sorloth, Samardzic, Martel, Wosz
Out: Hartmann (knee), Halstenberg (groin), Klostermann (knee), Laimer (knee)
Coach: Julian Nagelsmann
PSG: Navas - Florenzi (Rafinha 84'), Danilo, Kimpembe, Kurzawa (Bakker 74') - Herrera, Marquinhos (c), Gueye, - Sarabia (Kehrer 74'), Kean, Di Maria
Unused subs: Rico, Randriamamy, Paredes, Diallo, Dagba, Pembele, Ruiz-Atil, Fadiga
Out: Bernat (knee), Draxler (hamstring), Icardi (knee), Mbappe (hamstring), Neymar (groin), Verratti (thigh)
Coach: Thomas Tuchel
As it happened!
What a win for Leipzig! After struggling for much of the first half, Nagelsmann's charges improved as the match wore on and were clinical with the chances they had. They go level with Manchester United on six points at the top of the group.
90'+4 KIMPEBE SENT OFF
The PSG defender is rightfully sent off fur a cynical challenge on Poulsen, who was sprinting clear of him on the break.
90'+2 WASTEFUL FROM DI MARIA
PSG win a free-kick in a promising position, wide on the right and about 30 yards from goal. Di Maria takes it, but he overhits it horribly and it's a comfortable catch for Gulacsi.
90'+1 FIVE MORE MINUTES
We're into the first of five added minutes now.
90' KAMPL ENTERS THE FRAY
The midfielder replaces Sabitzer for the last few minutes.
89' SUPERB FROM UPAMECANO
Kean bends his run to collect a pass and bear down on Gulacsi. He's about to shoot, but Upamecano somehow gets back to poke the ball off his toe. A goal wouldn't have counted though, is Kean is flagged for offside.
87' PSG POSSESSION
The French side have held on to the ball well for the past couple of minutes, but it's largely been in midfield and in their own half, where Leipzig are more than happy for them to keep it.
84' ATTACKING PSG SUB
Tuchel gives it one last throw of the dice, replacing right back Florenzi with the more attack-minded Rafinha.
81' NKUNKU FIRES WIDE
A high ball into the box causes havoc in the PSG defence, and Poulsen glances a header to the back post. Nkunku arrives and smashes a low shot towards the far post, but it's deflected wide for a corner.
79' PATIENT PLAY FROM LEIPZIG
As the clock ticks down, the home team are doing exactly what they should be: frustrating PSG and making them chase the ball.
76' TWO MORE SUBS FOR LEIPZIG
Haidara and Forsberg, who have both been excellent in this second half, are given a breather. Adams and Kluivert are on the pitch now.
74' TWO CHANGES FOR PSG
Kehrer comes on for Sarabia and Bakker replaces Kurzawa.
72' WHERE DO PSG GO FROM HERE?
A goal and a man down away from home - having been 1-0 up and dominating in the first half. It's been quite the turnaround. PSG are not sitting back though: if anything they're going for broke now here.
69' GUEYE SENT OFF!
The PSG midfielder is given his marching orders after receiving a second yellow card for a late challenge on Haidara in the middle of the park.
67' TOE TO TOE
PSG are starting to come back into the game now, buoyed by Di Maria's raid down the right wing moments ago. Leipzig are not rolling over without a fight though, and are still committing significant numbers forward in search of another goal.
64' DOUBLE SUB FOR LEIPZIG
Nagelsmann makes the first changes of the game, bringing on Poulsen and Henrichs on for Olmo and Mukiele.
62' DI MARIA DANGEROUS
The 32-year-old scurries down the right wing and gets into the box. He looks to cross, but does so with the outside of his stronger left boot. Gulacsi anticipates his intentions and dives out to gather ahead of Florenzi.
60' PSG STUNNED
Leipzig have the wind in their sails now and are hounding their visitors whenever they have the ball. Forsberg is the best player on the pitch at present, and is looking dangerous whenever he's in possession.
57' FORSBERG SPOT ON!
Forsberg takes it and makes no mistake, smashing in an unstoppable shot low to Navas' right.
56' PENALTY TO LEIPZIG!
A VAR check after Kimbembe handles Angelino's floated ball into the box and the referee award the home team a spot-kick.
54' KEAN RIFLES OVER
PSG respond with their first attack of the half. Sarabia holds the ball up well on the edge of the box before laying it off to Kean. He takes a touch and unleashes a shot from range, but it whizzes just over.
53' OVER FROM FORSBERG!
The Swede completely bamboozles Danilo, turning him inside out as he charges into the left-hand side of the box. He gets himself into a shooting position, but snatches his effort high over the bar.
52' WINNING THE TACKLES
There still hasn't been a sight of goal at either end in this half, but Leipzig are bossing things at the moment, winning the majority of the first and second balls in midfield.
49' LEIPZIG MUCH IMPROVED
The home side have picked up where they left off at the end of the first period, with determination and aggression. They're pressing higher up the pitch and playing with greater belief than they did for most of the first 45 minutes.
46' SECOND HALF!
Leipzig get the ball rolling once again. No changes from either side so far.
Leipzig will be far the happier side with the score so far. They weren't at the races for the majority of the first half, and Gulacsi kept them in the game with his save from Di Maria's penalty. PSG's wastefulness was ultimately punished, with Nkunku's excellent strike just before the interval making it 1-1 at the halfway stage.
45' OVER FROM OLMO!
All of a sudden Leipzig look like themselves again, attacking with purpose and incision. The ball is worked to Olmo on the edge of the box, but his fierce drive whistles over.
42' NKUNKU EQUALISES!
Leipzig pull level! It's their best move of the match as Forsberg does well down the left before passing to Angelino. He spots the unmarked Nkunku on the edge of box and slides a pass to the former PSG man. Nkunku takes a touch and drills an excellent low shot into the bottom corner. Game on!
39' KEAN GOAL DISALLOWED
Mukiele is a tad too casual as he tries to play out from the back and it's intercepted. Sarabia's initial shot on the turn is saved and Kean turns in the rebound, but the assistant referee raises his flag and this one won't count either.
38' DISALLOWED DI MARIA GOAL
Di Maria collects a long ball forward, sprints the length of Leipzig's half and finishes beyond Gulacsi, but he was offside to the goal won't count.
35' LEIPZIG IMPROVING
The hosts are still having trouble getting behind the PSG defence when they go forward, but they have managed to break free of their high press over the last few minutes.
32' SHOT FROM FORSBERG
Leipzig finally manage to get forward down the right through Mukiele, and the ball is worked to Forsberg. The Swede has a pop from distance, but it's straight at Navas.
29' LEIPZIG PINNED BACK
Nagelsmann's side can't really get out of their own half right now as PSG's high press keeps them in and around their own penalty area.
26' ANOTHER PSG CORNER
Orban is put under pressure by two players inside his own penalty box and can only give a corner away. It's PSG's second of the game, but again Di Maria's delivery is straight into Gulacsi's hands.
22' SIX FOULS
Leipzig have committed six fouls so far in this game - an unremarkable stat on the face of it. But three of them have been from free-kicks they have had in attacking positions, much to Nagelsmann's frustration.
19' MOMENTUM FOR LEIPZIG?
Can the home team use the boost from Gulacsi's save to kickstart a period of pressure? They've struggled to get going in the final third so far, and have looked vulnerable at the back.
16' PENALTY SAVED!
Gulacsi guess the right way, diving low to his left and comes up with a big save to keep Di Maria's spot-kick out!
15' PENALTY TO PSG!
Kean collects a long ball forward, turns and smashes a shot at goal. It strikes Upamecano's hand and goes wide, but the referee blows for a penalty.
12' DI MARIA LIVELY
The Argentinian has been everywhere so far, popping up on both flanks and through the centre, dragging defenders out of position.
10' PSG ON THE FRONT FOOT
Di Maria swings in a corner as the visitors look to capitalise on their momentum, but Gulacsi comes off his line to clear.
8' INCREDIBLE DOUBLE SAVE FROM NAVAS!
Leipzig should really be level here, as the unmarked Haidara meets a low cross from the right, but his first-time shot from the edge of the six-yard box is blocked by Navas. The rebound falls to Angelino, but the goalkeeper scrambles over to keep out his follow-up effort too.
6' DI MARIA WITH THE OPENER!
This time it's Upamecano with a loose ball, which is intercepted by Kean. He slips a clever pass into Di Maria, who pokes past Gulacsi for the opener.
5' CARELESS FROM HERRERA
The PSG midfielder plays a sloppy pass back to Navas, not seeing that Forsberg was lurking. He sprints towards the ball, but the goalkeeper is alert and punts it clear.
3' MIDFIELD TUSSLE
Both teams are still trying to establish a rhythm early on. There have been plenty of aerial challenges but not a lot of action in the final thirds as yet.
Here we go! The visitors get the ball rolling in Leipzig.
Group H leaders Manchester United have just lost 2-1 away to Basaksehir, meaning Leipzig could go joint-top of the pool with victory here. Barring an 8-0 victory though, they would be in second place on goal difference.
NAGELSMANN ON LEIPZIG'S CURRENT SITUATION
“We’ve lost one game in the Champions League and one in the Bundesliga, so it’s not too dramatic a situation," said the 33-year-old at his pre-match press conference.
"Obviously we want to try to pick up three points. It’s a decisive game on the way to qualifying for the knockout stages. There are always lessons to be learned from defeats – in particular the loss in Manchester. We don’t want to have another performance in the manner of those last 10 minutes, but the rest of the game was actually pretty good. We need to be more dangerous in front of goal than we have been in the last two games"
FIRST WIN FOR STUDENT VS. MENTOR?
Having cut his teeth as a coach under Tuchel at Augsburg, Nagelsmann is yet to get the better of his former boss.
They faced each other three times while Nagelsmann was at Hoffenheim and Tuchel at Dortmund, across the 2015/16 and 2016/17 seasons, with BVB winning twice, either side of a 2-2 draw.
The most recent meeting was, of course, in the semi-finals on August 18, which PSG won 3-0. That was also the only competitive fixture to date between these clubs.
TEAM NEWS - PSG
Injury has deprived PSG of their star duo Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, while fellow attacks Julian Draxler and Mauro Icardi are also sidelined. The French club still have plenty of firepower going forward though, chiefly in the shape of Angel Di Maria and Moise Kean, able supported by Pablo Sarabia.
TEAM NEWS - LEIPZIG
It's asking for trouble trying to guess the tactics and formation of a coach as cunning as Nagelsmann, but from the outset it looks like he's gone for a 3-4-3.
It's a big surprise to see Poulsen on the bench - perhaps a tactic to throw a spanner in the works of PSG's defensive game plan - with Olmo, Forsberg and Nkunku charged with creative duties for the hosts. Amadou Haidara unexpectedly gets the nod in the middle of the park, with fellow central midfielders Kevin Kampl and Tyler Adams both on the bench.
Both teams have three points from two games so far, having both overcome Istanbul Basaksehir but lost to current section leaders Manchester United.
A win for either side, then, would be a significant step towards reaching the knockout stages, while also dealing a considerable blow to the other side.
Greetings, and thanks for joining us as Leipzig seek what would be their second victory in Group H this season, a result that would also give Julian Nagelsmann's side a measure of revenge for their semi-final defeat to PSG in last season's competition.