bundesliga

RB Leipzig come up trumps to end battling Wolfsburg's challenge

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RB Leipzig are back up to sixth spot in the Bundesliga standings after second-half goals from Willi Orban and birthday boy Josko Gvardiol finally put paid to battling Wolfsburg.

Leipzig 2-0 Wolfsburg
Goals: 1-0 Orban 76', 2-0 Gvardiol 84' (assist: Mukiele)

In 11 previous meetings between these teams, there had never been a scoreless draw but the nervy opening exchanges at the Red Bull Arena gave the impression that this might have been the first. The game's slow start was history, however, once Hugo Novoa reacted smartly to a John Brooks misjudgement when facing a high ball. Once the 18-year-old Spaniard - making his first Bundesliga start - had that powerful drive beaten out by Wolfsburg captain Koen Casteels, it was game on. The visitors arrived in Saxony under a cloud having failed to manage a win in ten competitive fixtures. As the game progressed, the Wolves' hunger for maximum points grew and they enjoyed a period of intense pressure that might have yielded a goal. Sebastiaan Bornauw headed narrowly over before Aster Vranckx saw his driving free-kick palmed wide by the alert Peter Gulacsi. A goalmouth scramble soon followed with Vranckx and then Yannick Gerhardt ultimately finding a path to goal blocked.

Having failed to threaten since Novoa's earlier strike, coach Domenico Tedesco made a triple change as he sought to ignite Leipzig's challenge for a third successive Bundesliga win. The alterations produced the desired effect. Orban had a goal ruled out as the hosts upped the tempo. Christopher Nkunku then sent a free-kick narrowly off target before substitute Dani Olmo combined with Andre Silva prior to hitting a low shot that was saved by Casteels. With the pressure beginning to tell on a Wolfsburg team that had taken just two points in their eight previous Bundesliga games, Leipzig finally struck. Olmo's cross from the right was aimed at Silva, the forward's towering header sent the ball against the frame of the goal - and the quick-thinking Orban was on hand to net the rebound. First blood drawn, the hosts moved in for the kill. Gvardiol finally put the Wolves to the sword with a lifted finish from a Nordi Mukiele through pass.

Match stats

  • Orban has scored in all six of his Bundesliga seasons with Leipzig. The Hungary defender now has 16 career goals in the top flight.
  • Gvardiol scored his second Bundesliga goal on the day of his 20th birthday.
  • Leipzig won three games in a row in the Bundesliga for the first time this season. Eight of their nine league wins this term have come at home, while this marked their 100th victory in the German top flight (from 190 matches).
  • Wolfsburg have now gone nine games without a win in the Bundesliga (2D, 7L).
  • The Wolves have failed to score in each of their last four league matches.
  • Florian Kohfeldt has lost all five of the Bundesliga matches he has been in charge of away to Leipzig.

Watch: Adams "proud" of Leipzig

Line-ups

Leipzig: Gulacsi (c) - Simakan (Mukiele 74'), Orban, Gvardiol - Henrichs (Klostermann 55'), Laimer (Adams 56'), Kampl, Angelino, Nkunku (Poulsen 81') - Silva, Novoa (Olmo 55')
Unused subs: Martinez, Tschauner, Raebiger, Szoboszlai
Out: Forsberg (thigh), Haidara (Africa Cup of Nations), Halstenberg (thigh), Moriba (Africa Cup of Nations)
Coach: Domenico Tedesco

Wolfsburg: Casteels (c) - Lacroix, Bornauw, Brooks - R. Baku, Arnold, Gerhardt (Nmecha 79'), Roussillon, Vranckx (Lukébakio 79'), Waldschmidt (Philipp 45') - Weghorst
Unused subs: Pervan, Mbabu, van de Ven, Guilavogui, Bialek, Ginczek
Out: L. Nmecha (ankle), Otavio (knee), Schlager (knee), Steffen (suspended), William (knee)
Coach: Florian Kohfeldt