RB Leipzig fought back from two Maximilian Philipp goals to earn a 2-2 draw at home to Wolfsburg that saw Julian Nagelsmann’s side secure the runners-up spot in the Bundesliga and the Wolves book their place in the UEFA Champions League.
Leipzig went into the game knowing at least a draw for them would secure second place, but Wolfsburg looked much the better side as they sought the point that would put them in the Champions League next season. Philipp had an early effort saved by Peter Gulacsi, but he left the RB goalkeeper with absolutely no chance as he smashed home the opener from the edge of the box, the ball fading away into the far top corner. Leipzig stepped things up a notch, but it was the Wolves who came closest again. Ridle Baku served top scorer Wout Weghorst on the edge of the box, but the big Dutchman could only find the outside of the right post with his curling effort. Wolfsburg doubled their lead on the stroke of half-time when Baku again picked out a teammate in the middle, this time Philipp as he got in front of Ibrahima Konate to turn home his and VfL’s second.
After ending a first half without scoring for the seventh competitive game in a row, Die Roten Bullen burst out of the gate after the restart and got one back through Justin Kluivert, twisting and turning Kevin Mbabu this way and that before firing past Koen Casteels. The Belgian goalkeeper was big and strong against his Dutch opponent shortly after when coming out to make a telling block with the Leipzig forward in behind the Wolfsburg defence. It was a sign of the one-way traffic of the second half as Nagelsmann – taking charge of his final home game at the Red Bull Arena – ordered his team forwards in search of an equaliser. They got that with a little over 10 minutes to go when referee Felix Zwayer awarded a penalty on review for a foul by Paulo Otavio on Amadou Haidara. Captain Marcel Sabitzer stepped up to convert to earn the point Leipzig needed to guarantee the runners-up spot in the Bundesliga for the second time in their history. The point was also enough for Wolfsburg to qualify for the Champions League for the third time, as they now cannot be caught by Eintracht Frankfurt in fifth.
- Philipp bagged his fourth brace in the Bundesliga and first since 23 September 2017 in Borussia Dortmund’s 6-1 win against Borussia Mönchengladbach.
- Kluivert’s goal was his second in the Bundesliga. His first came in the 3-3 draw away at Bayern Munich.
- Sabitzer maintained his 100 per cent record from the spot in the Bundesliga with his fourth penalty (all this season).
- Wolfsburg have now scored in their last 10 away games in the Bundesliga. Their only blank on the road this season was in Dortmund on Matchday 14.
- Only champions Bayern have scored more first-half goals this season (48) than Wolfsburg (33).
- Maximilian Arnold made his 250th Bundesliga appearance – all for Wolfsburg. Only Marcel Schäfer (256) and Diego Benaglio (259) have featured more times for the Wolves in the top flight.
Watch: Nagelsmann: "The last two years went very good"
Leipzig: Gulacsi - Klostermann, Konate (Upamecano 63’), Orban - Laimer (Haidara 46’), Sabitzer (c), Henrichs (Angelino 46’) - Nkunku, Forsberg (Kampl 87’) - Poulsen, Kluivert (Hwang 70’)
Unused subs: Martinez, Sörloth, Mukiele, Raebiger
Out: Adams (back), Halstenberg (knock), Olmo (unknown), Samardzic (knee), Szoboszlai (groin)
Coach: Julian Nagelsmann
Wolfsburg: Casteels (c) - Mbabu, Lacroix, Brooks, Otavio - Schlager, Arnold – Baku (Roussillon 90’), Gerhardt, Philipp (Guilavogui 79’) - Weghorst
Unused subs: Pervan, Bruma, Mehmedi, Ginczek, Pongracic, Siersleben, Victor
Out: Bialek (knee), Steffen (ankle)
Coach: Oliver Glasner
Watch: Philipp: "Making the Champions League is very special as Wolfsburg"