Goals from Willi Orban, Andre Silva and an Emil Forsberg penalty helped RB Leipzig to a 3-1 UEFA Europa League play-off victory away to Real Sociedad, with Domenico Tedesco's men advancing to the tournament's Round of 16 by 5-3 on aggregate.
Real Sociedad 1-3 RB Leipzig (agg. 3-5)
Goals: 0-1 Orban 39', 0-2 Andre Silva 59' (assist: Simakan), 1-2 Zubimendi 65', 1-3 Forsberg (pen.) 89'
Soaring in confidence after a 6-1 win against Hertha Berlin at the weekend took them up to fourth place in the Bundesliga standings, Leipzig quickly picked up where they left off, taking the game to their hosts at the Estadio de Anoeta. Lukas Klostermann tested Mathew Ryan in just the third minute, and the home 'keeper was called into action almost immediately afterwards, making amends for a loose pass to deny the alert Kevin Kampl. Perhaps still smarting from Sunday's heavy derby defeat against rivals Athletic Bilbao, La Real struggled to break out against the visitors and they were fortunate to avoid going behind once again when Ryan gathered Willi Orban's effort following a set piece. A menace throughout against the San Sebastian-based side in last week's first leg, Christopher Nkunku was a thorn in the side of the hosts once again and when his quick movement bamboozled Ryan in the Sociedad area, Leipzig were awarded a penalty. The busy goalkeeper stopped Andre Silva's spot-kick, but he could do nothing about Orban's follow up which gave Domenico Tedesco's men a deserved lead.
La Real had previously won just twice in nine games against German opposition and the home side appeared up against it in terms of improving on that record as the second half progressed. Dani Olmo tested Ryan with a super effort from range which the home goalkeeper was equal to. Yet the Sociedad No.13's luck was out when Andre Silva latched on to Mohamed Simakan's precise assist before driving an unstoppable shot high in at the near post. The Bundesliga side looked set fair to advance, but there was life left in Los Txuri-Urdin, who reduced the arrears when Martin Zubimedi's close-range effort was allowed to stand after a long VAR check. The home fans urged their side on to complete a comeback that looked momentarily possible. When Elustondo handled from Nkunku to give Leipzig one more penalty, however, those hopes vanished, substitute Forsberg drilling home from the spot to send Leipzig into the Round of 16.
- Forsberg's penalty was Leipzig's 1,000th goal in RB Leipzig's history.
- Orban has netted three goals in all competitions in 2021/22.
- Nkunku has scored 22 goals in 34 games in all competitions this season.
- This was the sides' very first European tie.
- Real have played ten times — winning just twice and losing five — against German opposition in European competition.
- Leipzig have three Spaniards on their books in Angelino, Josep Martinez and Dani Olmo, none of whom have played in La Liga.
FULL-TIME! LEIPZIG GO THROUGH
It was very very nervous for a while there when Real pulled it back to 2-1, but in the end, that's a deserved win and qualification over the two games for Domenico Tedesco's men. There will be no one who wants to draw Leipzig in Friday's Round of 16 draw.
The atmosphere inside the Anoeta is now as damp as the day has been in the Basque country, and we can hear the near 400 Leipzig fans who have made the trip.
FIVE MINUTES ADDED ON
But Leipzig can surely hold on, can't they?
FORSBERG MAKES IT 3-1!!!
A second penalty of the evening won by Nkunku. And as in the first leg, Forsberg takes the ball, places it on the spot...will the Swede score again and - surely - take his side through? YESSSSS!!!! Ryan went the right way, but Forsberg's penalty was right in the bottom corner. Nicely done, and that's 5-3 on aggregate.
PENALTY FOR LEIPZIG
Great thigh control from Nkunku to bring down a ball over the top, he tries to cut inside Elustondo - the Sociedad defender blocks it with his hand, and that's a penalty. Another easy decision for Mr. Taylor.
SORLOTH SO CLOSE
When a free-kick is only half cleared, Kampl misses his kick on the edge of the Leipzig area. Isak's shot ricochets onto the head of Sorloth, who has no time to direct his header, and watches the ball loop just wide of the far post.
Every time Leipzig get the ball, they are under so much pressure and are forced to give it back almost immediately. The hosts are in charge right now. Can Leipzig hold on?
HERE COMES SORLOTH
The 6'4" Norway international, who is on loan from RB Leipzig, is on for Rafinha. He'll be quite a physical challenge for the visiting backline.
Munoz gets to the by-line and hangs up a cross for Isak - he leaps at the near post and directs a header across goal...and wide of the far post. Gulasci was so calm, but that looked to be going in from here.
POULSEN ON FOR OLMO
The whistles from the home fans are deafening as Olmo trudges to the sidelines where Yussuf Poulsen waits to race onto the pitch. Let's see how that plays out tactically now.
TREATMENT FOR GULASCI
The Leipzig captain comes to claim a cross from the left and collides heavily with Simakan - a bit dazed, he gets to his feet. Leipzig will need their goalkeeper on high alert.
The free-kick from that Orban challenge is a long way out, too far...surely...not for Januzaj!! And Gulasci isn't caught out, brilliantly scrambling back to his right to keep the ball out.
The Leipzig defender hauls down Isak after the Sweden international's first touch was just too good, too clever. The game is very very different now after that Real goal.
HOME FANS IN FULL VOICE
The Real fans are really pushing their side on now.
CAN LEIPZIG GET CONTROL?
The visitors need to weather the Spanish storm they're about to face now. The next 5-10 minutes could decide this tie.
AND IT'S A GOAL
A huge cry goes up from the Anoeta as Mr. Taylor reverses his decision and points to the centre circle. That makes things nail-biting. Remember, if it's 2-2 at full-time, it'll be 4-4 on aggregate, and we go to extra-time.
We've got VAR looking at the incident...
Leipzig don't deal with Januzaj's free-kick immediately after those three changes, the ball drops for Zubimendi, who scrambles the ball home...but the whistle goes. 'Offside' says Mr. Taylor...
TRIPLE CHANGE FOR LEIPZIG
Laimer, Henrichs and Silva replaced by Angelino, Haidara and Forsberg
SILVA, JANUZAJ ON
David Silva - not a bad substitute to bring on when you need some magic - and ex-Dortmund man Januzaj come on for the final half-hour. A new challenge for Leipzig.
PURE GOLD STRIKE FROM SILVA FOR 2-0
Brilliant goal from Andre Silva! Simakan wins the ball back just inside the Real half, he feeds Silva, who shimmies left and right and then smashes - absolutely smashes - a rising shot past Ryan and high into the net. Fabulous strike and a fully deserved 2-0 lead now. The Round of 16 beckons for Leipzig.
REAL'S FIRST SHOT ON TARGET
Isak holds off Gvardiol while he waits for support - he finds Rafinha just outside the Leipzig area. The on-loan Paris Saint-Germain midfielder gets a shot away, but there's nowhere near enough pace or precision on his effort to trouble Gulasci. That's the Leipzig goalkeeper's first save.
OLMO VS. RYAN
Olmo lines up a blockbuster from 25 yards - it fizzes goalwards, but Ryan leaps to his right to turn it behind for a corner. That's a great strike and an equally good save.
Neither side has gotten going in this second half yet.
SORLOTH AS PLAN B
If Real don't provide more of a goal threat in this second half, we could see Alexander Sorloth - on loan at Leipzig last season - make an appearance.
SECOND HALF KICKS OFF
Here we go again at the Anoeta! Leipzig 45 minutes from the Round of 16.
Leipzig with a deserved lead, but it really should be more than just the one goal. To avoid a very nervous finale to this one, Tedesco will be hoping his side can find the clinical streak they showed against Hertha at the weekend.
LEIPZIG THROUGH...FOR NOW
That goal puts RBL 3-2 up on aggregate. Still a lot of football to be played though...
ORBAN MAKES IT 1-0!!
Andre Silva steps up to take the penalty...Ryan dives to his right to block it, the ball ricochets out to the keeper's left where Orban bustles through to fire home the loose ball. That's a relief for Leipzig!
PENALTY FOR LEIPZIG
Nkunku times his run in behind perfectly, and gets a touch on the ball before Ryan sends him tumbling...referee Anthony Taylor points to the spot. No doubt about it, that's a penalty!
Dani Olmo escapes a challenge down the right, the ball is worked over to Henrichs on the left and he tees up Nkunku outside the box, but the French midfielder's shot is blocked and loops up to give Ryan an easy catch.
The Leipzig boss is bellowing instructions at his players, despite the fact they seem to have things under control. Real are yet to muster a shot on target.
ROUND OF 16 DRAW FRIDAY
The winner of this tie will go into the hat for Friday's Round of 16 draw at UEFA HQ in Nyon, Switzerland. They'll come up against one of the eight group winners, who include Leverkusen and Frankfurt. But - for now - a Bundesliga team won't be able to play another Bundesliga team. Leipzig have to make it first...
BETTER FROM REAL
The hosts' blue-and-white stripes are getting into the Leipzig half more often in the last couple of minutes. They're not threatened Gulasci at all yet.
NKUNKU OFF THE PACE
The French midfielder has not been in the game much for the moment - he's playing on the left of the front two with Silva with Olmo central just behind.
LEIPZIG IN CHARGE
Tedesco's team have been very much on top, but the Leipzig boss will surely be concerned they've not managed to take the lead yet.
ORBAN CLOSER THIS TIME
Ryan handles the ball just outside his penalty area on the right side. Olmo to deliver the free-kick...and Ryan is in the right place at the right time as Orban's volley flies straight at him. Could be 3-0.
Perhaps the hosts are still a little groggy from their 4-0 derby loss at Athletic Bilbao at the weekend. They've not made a good start...which is great for Leipzig.
ORBAN SHOOTS WIDE
The big centre-back tries his luck from distance, but drags his shot wide.
LEIPZIG CAUSING CHAOS
Dani Olmo flights a free-kick into the Real penalty area, and again the La Liga outfit's defence looks fragile as they block a Klostermann shot. Leipzig need to capitalise on their dominance.
WHAT A CHANCE!!
Ryan plays the ball out but doesn't put enough on it, Kampl nips in, but can't beat the Real 'keeper one-on-one. That's a great opportunity, Leipzig's second. They could, probably should, be 2-0 up here.
NO AWAY GOALS
Just a reminder that there's no away goals rule now in UEFA competition. So after a 2-2 first leg, it's literally all square. We could have extra-time and penalties if it remains that way.
Tedesco's men are taking the game to the hosts - playing in their black shirts with colourful flecks, the visitors have spent most of the opening minutes in the Real half.
FIRST CHANCE FOR LEIPZIG
The visitors put together a smart counter-attack...Klostermann is free on the right, the ball finds him, but the right wing-back's low shot is kicked away by Ryan. That was a great chance.
FIRST HALF KICKS OFF
We're underway in Spain.
ANDRE SILVA ON THE LEIPZIG SQUAD
"Every player we have has a lot of quality. Christo and Dani are different players, they give us a lot of options on the pitch. I get on very well with them both. When they both perform as they did at the weekend, we'll win a lot of games."
TEDESCO: 'OLMO AND NKUNKU HAVE UNIQUE SPARK'
We can expect fireworks from Olmo and Nkunku tonight, according to Tedesco. "Christo and Dani clearly really enjoy playing and have that unique spark to do something exceptional in the final third." Let's hope we see that in the Basque country this evening.
TYLER ON A TIGHTROPE
Tyler Adams and Simakan are the two Leipzig players who - if booked tonight - would miss Die Roten Bullen's next game in the competition. Be that (hopefully) this season or next.
LEIPZIG STARTING XINkunku and Andre Silva with Dani Olmo in behind is a potent looking three up front for the visitors - Forsberg starts on the bench. Simakan makes the starting XI after shaking off the knock he picked up at the weekend. In fact, the back three and Gulasci remain the same from the Hertha game, but Tedesco does make five changes in all.
REAL SOCIEDAD STARTING XI
Australian 'keeper Mathew Ryan keeps his place after featuring in last week's 2-2 draw in Germany. Isak starts and with Sorloth and Januzaj on the bench, the hosts have a strong ex-Bundesliga contingent. No Merino though - the former Dortmund midfielder was injured in Real's 4-0 derby loss to Athletic Bilbao at the weekend.
TEDESCO ON TEAM SELECTIONThe Leipzig boss said it was "a first" to have a full squad available, but admitted, "I don't know the starting XI yet myself". He suggested he could keep the same side that took Hertha apart at the weekend, or "could make five, six changes."
Hello, we've got build-up and live text commentary of the second leg in Spain coming up. Can Leipzig make it through? Stay with us to find out.
Real Sociedad: Ryan - Zaldua, Aritz, Le Normand (Silva 62'), Aihen - Zubimendi, Zubeldia, Rafinha (Sorloth 84') - Portu (Januzaj 62'), Isak (Djouahra 90'), Oyarzabal (c)
Subs: Alex Remiro, Gorosabel, Pacheco, Guevara, Guridi, Illarramendi, Lobete, Martin
Out: Barrenetxea (thigh), Fernandez (knee), Monreal (knee), Merino (knock)
Coach: Imanol Alguacil
Leipzig: Gulacsi (c) - Simakan, Orban, Gvardiol - Klostermann, Laimer (Haidara 65'), Kampl (Adams 90'), Henrichs (Angelino 65') - Olmo (Poulsen 79') - Nkunku, Silva (Forsberg 65')
Subs: Martinez, Tschauner, Halstenberg, Mukiele, Raebiger, Szoboszlai, Novoa,
Coach: Domenico Tedesco
As it happened ...