Xavi was on target as RB Leipzig joined Group G leaders Manchester City in the UEFA Champions League round of 16 with victory away to Red Star Belgrade.
Red Star 1-2 Leipzig
Goals: 0-1 Xavi 8' (assist: Schlager), 0-2 Openda 77' (assist: Schlager), 1-2 Henrichs (o.g. 81')
Victorious over Red Star a fortnight ago, Leipzig didn't take long to stamp their authority over the return fixture. The home defence had already fended off shots from Benjamin Šeško and Loïs Openda, when Xavi found the top corner with a fabulous strike from 20 yards. Janis Blaswich was called on twice in a first half otherwise controlled by Leipzig, who carved out a number of presentable openings to add to their lead, with Šeško finding the side netting and Openda foiled in a one-on-one with Red Star stopper Omri Glazer.
Šeško drove a long-range attempt against the woodwork and followed that up with a header wide as Leipzig chased a two-goal cushion. They almost got it through Openda, whose near-post flick was well saved by Glazer. Red Star did have some joy in an attacking sense, albeit without seriously testing Blaswich, before Openda capped an ice-cold counter to give Leipzig breathing space. A Benjamin Henrichs own goal gave the home team hope, but Leipzig got it over the line, with Blaswich's last-gasp save from Peter Olayinka securing their place in the knockout rounds with two games to spare.
Watch: An exclusive interview with Xavi Simons!
- Xavi has scored in back-to-back Champions League games.
- Leipzig's seven different goalscorers is the most of any team in this season's group stage: Xavi, David Raum, Openda, Olmo, Šeško, Schlager and Mohamed Simakan.
- Six different players have provided the assists: Xavi, Raum, Kevin Kampl, Poulsen, Schlager and Henrichs.
- Leipzig have won their last four away games in the Champions League group stage - a new club record.
- Die Roten Bullen have won home and away against an opponent in a Champions League campaign for the fifth time, previously doing so against Tottenham Hotspur and Zenit St Petersburg in 2019/20, Istanbul Basaksehir in 2020/21 and Celtic in 2022/23.
- Red Star are winless in their last six competitive meetings with German clubs (D1, L5)
Red Star: Glazer - Mijailović (Nedelković 46'), Djiga, Dragović (c), Rodić (Katai 85') - Kanga, Hwang - Bukari, Ivanić (Olayinka 69'), Lučić - Krasso (Ndiaye 46')
Unused subs: Popović, Degenek, Spajić, Stamenic, Kangwa, Mijatović, Kabić, Mitrović
Out: Falco (knock)
Coach: Barak Bakhar
Leipzig: Blaswich - Henrichs, Simakan, Castello, Raum - Xavi (Carvalho 75'), Schlager (Kampl 83'), Haidara (Seiwald 83'), Forsberg (c) (Baumgartner 70') - Openda, Šeško (Klostermann 70')
Unused subs: Gulácsi, Lenz, Poulsen
Out: Bitshiabu (knee), Olmo (shoulder), Orban (knee), Werner (ill)
Coach: Marco Rose
As it happened!
Leipzig reach round of 16!
They've done it! Leipzig follow Group G leaders Man City into the knockouts, with four of six games played in the section.
Brilliant reactions to deny Olayinka a late leveller!
The fourth official's board indicates four additional minutes as Carvalho tests Glazer's reflexes from the edge of the area.
Red Star pull one back!
Henrichs touches a cross past Blaswich. Nervy times for Leipzig...
Leipzig stop a Red Star counter in its tracks. Schlager picks out Openda, and he calmly slots beyond Glazer. That's surely job done!
Klostermann and Baumgartner are on for Leipzig. That could mean a shift to a three-man defence...
The heavens have opened, but it's not raining goals for Leipzig. Their energy levels have dropped in the the second half. City are now 3-0 up against Young Boys, though. Will Leipzig get the win they need to join the holders in the round of 16?
Three Leipzig cautions since the restart. Red Star are having a real go at them, with Ndiaye's pace a concern.
Raum finds his man with another inch-perfect cross from the left. Openda tries to direct it home at the near post, but Glazer gets down well to save.
Phwoar! Šeško hammers a long-range effort onto the upright. Raum collects and crosses for the young Leipzig striker, but he can't direct his header on target. That first attempt was really travelling!
Two changes - one in defence, the other in attack - for Red Star. Leipzig are as they were.
Half-time: Red Star 0-1 Leipzig
Xavi's goal is the difference, but Leipzig could - and perhaps should - be further ahead. They are, however, 45 minutes from a place in the Champions League last 16...
Blaswich has had little to do, but comes up with a superb block block to stop Bukari levelling. Leipzig go straight on the attack with Openda. He feeds Forsberg, who drills wide. And breathe!
Rodic loses his footing, gifting possession to Openda. The Leipzig forward only has the Glazer to beat, but the Red Star keeper reads it well and makes the stop.
Two additional minutes in Belgrade. Leipzig look very comfortable...
Red Star are very fortunate not to be further behind as Openda's deflected strike sails narrowly wide with Glazer beaten.
So far, so good
On the whole, Rose must be content with how his players have approached the first half. They're playing like the home team, and pushing for that two-goal cushion.
Group G latest
Man City also lead Young Boys in the group's other game. As things stand, Leipzig will follow the holders into the last 16 with room to spare.
Šeško tests Glazer's reflexes as Leipzig win another corner. Raum's deliver causes more problems for the home side, with Openda and Simons trying to fire the ball goalwards.
The Xavi factorThat's back-to-back Champions League goals for Xavi, who has now struck five times in all competitions for Leipzig. The PSG loanee also has seven assists.
© Getty Images
Blaswich gets in a bit of a pickle as he comes to claim a cross. He gets a hand to it, but is lucky that the sliding Ivanic isn't able to turn in the loose ball.
Leipzig want more
Forsberg has a crack, but a deflection takes it behind for a corner that comes to nothing.
Red Star with a great chance to level with their first attack, but Bukari sends his header over. Let-off for Leipzig!
There's no one in the way of Leipzig this time. Xavi collects a pass from Schlager in a central position, advances with the ball and finds the top corner with a superb 20-yard strike. Just brilliant!
Leipzig immediately on the attack, with Šeško, Openda and Forsberg all having goal-bound shots charged down. The Bundesliga side mean business!
The state of play
Leipzig have six points after three games, putting them second in Group G behind Man City. If they win tonight and the holders don't lose to Young Boys, Die Roten Bullen will be through to the last 16.
More on those teams
Benjamin Šeško makes his first Champions League start for Leipzig. Amadou Haidara and Emil Forsberg complete the alterations from the Mainz loss, with Kevin Kampl, Christoph Baumgartner and Lukas Klostermann making way. As for Red Star, Barak Bakhar makes four changes to the team beaten 3-1 in Leipzig a fortnight ago.
Leipzig starting line-up
Blaswich - Henrichs, Simakan, Castello, Raum - Xavi, Schlager, Haidara, Forsberg (c) - Openda, Šeško
Gulácsi, Lenz, Poulsen, Seiwald, Baumgartner, Klostermann, Carvalho, Kampl
Red Star starting line-up
Glazer - Mijailović, Djiga, Dragović (c), Rodić - Kanga, Hwang - Bukari, Ivanić, Lučić - Krasso
Red Star subs
Popović, Nedelković, Degenek, Spajić, Stamenic, Ndiaye, Katai, Olayinka, Kangwa, Mijatović, Kabić, Mitrović
Xavi speaksThe exciting Leipzig playmaker sat down with bundesliga.com after his dazzling display in the first meeting.
Red Star at night, Leipzig delight (again?)
RB Leipzig ran out 3-1 winners when the two sides met in Germany a fortnight ago, with a super Xavi Simons strike in the second half along with a David Raum opener and late Dani Olmo goal. The Serbian side posed a threat at times with their direct attacks, but Leipzig's quality told in the end.
So-so for Serbian champions
One draw from their opening three Champions League encounters - a 2-2 draw at home to Young Boys Bern, is Red Star Belgrade's sole result in the competition so far. They will most likely need another result against Leipzig to retain any chance of progressing from the group.
Chance to return to winning ways
Following defeats at Wolfsburg in the DFB Cup and Mainz in the Bundesliga, a third away trip in a row for Leipzig gives them a chance to restore some confidence. After two wins in their opening three UEFA Champions League group stage matches, Leipzig will be hopeful of landing three points again.
Watch: All about LeipzigEverything you need to know about Die Roten Bullen and their journey so far!
Thank for you joining us for our live coverage ahead of and during RB Leipzig's Champions League encounter at Red Star Belgrade.