RB Leipzig on verge of top four with Union Berlin victory


Loïs Openda and Benjamin Šeško were on target as RB Leipzig defeated Union Berlin 2-0 at the Red Bull Arena.

Leipzig 2-0 Union Berlin
Goals: 1-0 Openda 11', 2-0 Šeško 48' (assist: Raum)
Red cards: Trimmel 73'

Following Borussia Dortmund's goalless draw at Heidenheim on Friday, Leipzig came into this clash knowing a win would see them go within a point of the top four, and they were clearly eager to do so as they put their opponents under pressure early on. Within the opening quarter of an hour, they were in front through Openda, who fired home from the tightest of angles after Benjamin Henrichs' shot had been blocked by Kevin Vogt. However, while Union debutant Alexander Schwolow was unable to stop that effort from nestling in the top corner, he was a thorn in the hosts' side throughout the remainder of the first half, producing stunning stops to deny Openda and Benjamin Šeško. It was difficult for Union at times before the interval, but they grew into the game and had Yorbe Vertessen, making his first appearance for the club since his move from PSV, got more on his glancing header around the half-hour mark, Péter Gulácsi may have been helpless to save it.

Shortly after the restart, though, Die Roten Bullen doubled their advantage to gain full control of the encounter. David Raum's free-kick was perfectly-weighted, allowing Šeško to head home with ease. Marco Rose's side appeared to have extended their lead even further before there was an hour on the clock, but Šeško was marginally offside as he nodded Olmo's imaginative rabona cross beyond Schwolow. Things then went from bad to worse for Union when captain Christopher Trimmel was sent off for a poor challenge on Raum. Prior to that, there had been glimpses of a potential Union recovery, but they were too often unable to find the required end product against an impressive Leipzig outfit who struck the bar via Xavi late on. The result sees Rose and Co. leapfrog Dortmund into the final UEFA Champions League qualification spot, while their opponents remain just two points ahead of Cologne in the relegation play-off position.

Match stats

  • Openda has found the back of the net 14 times in the league this campaign, which is a record for a Belgium player. The previous best was from Emile Mpenza, who netted 13 for Schalke during the 2000/01 term.
  • The 23-year-old has opened the scoring in five separate games this season - only Harry Kane and Deniz Undav have managed to do so as often.
  • Leipzig have now scored 14 goals from set-pieces in the Bundesliga this season, a league high.
  • Trimmel's was Union's fourth dismissal of the campaign, which draws them level with Darmstadt and Eintracht Frankfurt at the top of that respective leaderboard.
  • Union have now failed to score in each of their previous six Bundesliga away games.
  • Die Eisernen have come from behind in just one match this term, drawing 1-1 with Augsburg after conceding first on Matchday 12.

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Leipzig: Gulácsi - Henrichs, Klostermann, Orban (c, Castello 70'), Raum - Xavi, Schlager, Kampl, Olmo (Elmas 77') - Šeško, Openda (Poulsen 77')
Unused subs: Blaswich, Lenz, Bitshiabu, Seiwald, Baumgartner, Jatta
Out: Haidara (international duty), Simakan (suspended)
Coach: Marco Rose 

Union: Schwolow- Knoche, Vogt, Doekhi - Tousart (Khedira 58') - Trimmel (c), Haberer (Volland 58'), Schäfer (Laïdouni 58'), Gosens - Vertessen (Aaronson 75'), Hollerbach (Bedia 75')
Unused subs: Busk, Jaeckel, Ogbemudia, Kaufmann
Out: Juranović (muscular), Leite (ill), Rønnow (knock), Roussillon (knock)
Coach: Nenad Bjelica