Marcel Sabitzer thundered in a second-half wonderstrike as he and fellow Austria international Konrad Laimer inspired RB Leipzig to a comeback win over Zenit Saint Petersburg in the UEFA Champions League.
RB Leipzig 2-1 Zenit Saint Petersburg
Goals: 0-1 Rakitskiy (25'), 1-1 Laimer (49'), 2-1 Sabitzer (59')
Julian Nagelsmann’s side were the ones looking to play in the opening stages and Laimer had a curling effort tipped onto the crossbar with less than a minute played. Leipzig pushed Zenit back deep into their own half, but the visitors from Russia were able to soak up all the hosts’ pressure before clinically striking themselves. A headed clearance from Willi Orban got plenty of distance but it fell to Zenit centre-back Yaroslav Rakitskiy, who thumped a left-footed effort across goal and into the net past Peter Gulacsi. Leipzig continued to dominate proceedings but were unable to find a way through before half-time.
Nagelsmann’s charges looked a vastly different proposition after the break, however. Matheus Cunha came on for Timo Werner and went for a spectacular overhead kick moments after the restart, but it was Laimer who brought the Bundesliga club level, combining brilliantly with fellow Austrian Sabitzer before sweeping beyond Mikhail Kerzhakov. It was Sabitzer who stole the show, though, with one of the goals of the season. Chesting down Lukas Klostermann’s deep cross from the left, he struck a magnificent fading shot on the half-volley, around a defender and into the far top corner. Cunha had several golden chances to add a third but Leipzig held on to snap a four-game winless run in all competitions and move onto six points from three games in Group G.
- Laimer scored his first Champions League goal on his fourth appearance.
- Sabitzer also opened his Champions League account, this time in his eighth game - and how!
- Leipzig are now unbeaten in their three European matches against Zenit, winning two of them.
- Leipzig have won eight of their 14 home games in continental competition, losing four and drawing the other two.
- Zenit are without a win in their last 11 European away matches.
- This was Leipzig's first win in five outings, and Nagelsmann's first on home soil in the Champions League.
Leipzig: Gulacsi – Mukiele, Upamecano, Orban (c), Klostermann – Kampl, Laimer (Demme 86') – Sabitzer, Forsberg, Lookman (Poulsen 69') – Werner (Cunha 46')
Subs: Mvogo, Saracchi, Haidara, Nkunku
Out: Adams (metatarsal), Ampadu (concussion), Halstenberg (back), Konate (hip), Schick (ankle), Wolf (ankle)
Coach: Julian Nagelsmann
Zenit: Kerzhakov - Karavaev, Ivanovic (c), Rakitskiy, Douglas - Shatov (Osorio 65'), Barrios, Ozdoyev - Zhirkov - Dzyuba, Azmoun (Kuzyaev 75'), Driussi (Mak 82')
Subs: Lunev, Zhirkov, Smolnikov, Erokhin
Out: Kokorin (ineligible), Malcom (thigh), Mammana (cruciate ligament)
Coach: Sergei Semak
As it happened
They can! After four outings without victory, Leipzig are back to winning ways - and Nagelsmann has won his first home game in the Champions League. They had to dig deep after going in a goal down at the break, but thanks to some superb work from their Austrians - in particular that cracker from Sabitzer - the Bundesliga side are still very much in contention for a place in the knockout stage. They leapfrog Zenit (4) to go top on 6 points, with Lyon (4) and Benfica (0) in action later tonight.
90' 4 MINUTES OF TIME ADDED ON
Can Leipzig see it out?
88' LEIPZIG WANT NUMBER 3
No question of the hosts shutting up shop... they are determined to kill this one off with a third goal, but they have to be careful not to leave any space in behind.
84' CUNHA OFF TARGET AGAIN!
Lightning strikes twice! Another through ball from Forsberg, and Cunha is in absolutely acres of space after beating the offside trip. But that previous miss appears to have unsettled the Brazilian and he snatches at it, blasting over the bar. Hopefully Leipzig won't regret these missed chances!
83' WHAT A CHANCE!
Forsberg slips a perfect ball through the middle to Cunha as the Zenit defence switch off, but the substitute fails to hit the target with just Kerzhakov to beat. That should have been 3-1!
76' MUKIELE DOWN
The Leipzig defender is receiving treatment after a nasty-looking challenge, clutching his right foot. Could this be the end of the Frenchman's night? Perhaps not - he's back on but moving pretty gingerly.
73' FORSBERG CHANNELLING HIS INNER SABITZER
The Sweden midfielder also looks to hit a dipping volley from distance, but there isn't quite enough dip and it sails over the bar. Leipzig are looking to land a knockout blow with that all-important third goal.
69' POULSEN ON
That's the end of Lookman's Champions League debut as he is replaced by Yussuf Poulsen.
68' GREAT CHANCE FOR ZENIT
Nice work from Rakitskiy out on the right wing - he cuts inside and sends over a ball that Osorio really should have steered on target. A let-off for Leipzig!
64' LEIPZIG ON TOP
The Red Bull Arena is rocking after a superb start to the second half from Leipzig. Sabitzer has been at the heart of it, setting up Laimer and then giving his side the lead with an absolute wonderstrike. Make sure you have a look at it at some point tonight!
59' GOAL! WHAT A BEAUTY!
This is an absolutely worldy from Marcel Sabitzer to give Leipzig the lead. A cross comes in from the left flank and he chests it down, lets it bounce, and unleashes an absolutely glorious strike right into the top corner. Simply unstoppable - Leipzig's Austrians are on fire!
49' GOAL FOR LEIPZIG!
Laimer brings Leipzig level! The Austrian makes a gorgeous dummy and lets the ball run out to his compatriot Sabitzer on the right flank - the through ball is inch perfect, and Laimer sweeps the ball past Kerzhakov and into the far corner for 1-1.
49' SENSATIONAL EFFORT FROM CUNHA!
Perhaps this is why Nagelsmann brought him on! A corner comes in and Cunha almost scores a fabulous bicycle kick - his acrobatic effort is just wide.
46' SECOND HALF UNDERWAY
Leipzig kick off the second half, and we've had a slightly surprising change - Timo Werner is off for Matheus Cunha. Perhaps the Germany striker has picked up a knock? Either way, that's not ideal news for the hosts.
The Russian champions are on top at half-time. Leipzig have had more of the ball and far more attempts on goal, but they have lacked cutting edge in that final third. Zenit, on the other hand, made the most of their solitary shot on target, and Rakitskiy's goal has them on course to extend their lead at the top of Group G. What can Nagelsmann's side come up with in the second half?
40' OH TIMO!
Werner seems to be caught by surprise as a cross from Sabitzer finds its way through to him on the penalty spot, with two Zenit defenders making a hash of clearing their lines. It bounces up awkwardly and Werner, under pressure from Ivanovic, blazes over the bar.
Klostermann feeds a low ball into Werner at the near post, but the Germany striker can't quite get his body shape right and the attempt is easily gathered once again by Kerzhakov.
Leipzig have a chance to hit back as Laimer floats a lovely ball to the back post for Mukiele - his header across comes to Klostermann inside the six-yard box, but he can't apply enough power to get it past Kerzhakov.
25' GOAL! LEIPZIG 0-1 ZENIT
It's cruel for Leipzig after the start they've made, but this is a superb strike from Yaroslav Rakitskiy. Orban heads a ball clear, but it only goes as far as the Zenit No.44, who takes a touch before firing into the bottom corner from outside the area. The visitors have weathered the early storm and they're ahead.
23' EASY FOR KERZHAKOV
Sabitzer brings Leipzig sweeping forward on the counter, with the ball eventually coming out to Klostermann on the left. His low shot is comfortably gathered by the Zenit keeper - and at any rate it had come off Werner, who was offside.
21' TACTICAL CAT AND MOUSE
This is a fascinating encounter so far, with Leipzig poking and probing at the Zenit defence but unable to find a way through those well-disciplined blue lines. And the visitors have shown flashes of what they can do on the counter-attack - it certainly feels like there are goals coming.
More lovely footwork from Forsberg and Lookman, but as Werner tries to slip a pass back through to the Swede he has strayed offside.
Faced with two lines of Zenit defenders, Leipzig knock the ball around crisply on the edge of the area before Mukiele tees up Sabitzer - the Austrian rifles his effort over the bar. The hosts still looking to make those little one-twos but the visitors are holding firm for the time being.
11' CHANCE FOR ZENIT!
Driussi should do better here! Douglas Santos latches onto a superb ball out on the left and puts in a cross, but the Zenit No.11 drags his volley wide. Better from the visitors.
10' UPAMECANO AGAIN
Great strength from the Frenchman to win another one-on-one battle at the back. It's end-to-end stuff at the moment, with Leipzig looking to combine and Zenit preferring long balls forward.
8' BARRIOS IN THE BOOK
Fine work from Upamecano and Orban to dispossess Dzyuba, and Forsberg then scampers away on the counter. He's held back by Barrios, and so the Colombian is the first man tonight to pick up a yellow card.
5' LEIPZIG ON TOP
Nagelsmann's charges have made an intense start to the game, pressing Zenit high up the Red Bull Arena pitch. We've seen Werner trying to link up with Lookman and Forsberg, but no further chances to speak of as yet. Positive stuff from Leipzig.
1' WHAT AN EFFORT!
Werner gets an early chance to show his pace as he comes flying down the Leipzig left - after a first cross is cleared, he squares to the edge of the area, where Laimer unleashes a superb curling effort! It takes a brilliant one-handed save from Kerzhakov to tip it onto the post and over for a corner.
The visitors get the ball rolling here in Leipzig.
ALL EYES ON WERNER
The Champions League anthem is ringing out around the Red Bull Arena, we're ready to go! The camera pans in on Timo Werner - can he fire Leipzig to a precious three points tonight?
PLAYERS IN THE TUNNEL!
We're just waiting for the Zenit players to emerge - and here they come, led by captain Branislav Ivanovic. The man Leipzig will really have to watch tonight is Artem Dzyuba, who scored a hat-trick in the 6-1 win over Rostov this weekend.
LEIPZIG OUT TO SNAP THEIR WINLESS STREAK
The hosts haven't tasted victory in four matches in all competitions, losing to Schalke and Lyon then drawing with Bayer Leverkusen and Wolfsburg. None of those were straightforward assignments, of course, but Leipzig will still be determined to get back to winning ways tonight.
TIGHT AT THE TOP
Leipzig are currently third in Group G, after beating Benfica away in their opener but then suffering a surprise home loss to Lyon three weeks ago. Nagelsmann's side have 3 points, Zenit and Lyon lead the way on 4, and Benfica have yet to get off the mark.
We're about 20 minutes away from kick-off at the Red Bull Arena, thanks for joining us for live coverage here on bundesliga.com. There's one noteable surprise in Julian Nagelsmann's starting line-up with Ademola Lookman given the nod ahead of Yussuf Poulsen in attack. Can the 22-year-old Englishman help his side claim a second win of this year's campaign?
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