London (dpa) – Congratulations from Tottenham Hotspurs star coach José Mourinho to Julian Nagelsmann was brief. And the young RB Leipzig coach also looked rather unusually serious after the first knockout round in the Champions League.
After 1: 0 (0: 0) at last year’s finalists, his team can dream of reaching the quarter-finals thanks to Timo Werner’s goal. The football striker crowned the outstanding performance of the Leipzig team on Wednesday evening with his converted penalty kick (58th).
RB could have won a lot higher in front of 60,095 spectators in the Spurs stadium, which was not completely sold out, but is still in a good starting position in the second meeting on March 10.
“We defended everything away,” said top scorer Werner on Sky. “We didn’t burn a lot. And we played very good football forward.” It was a bit surprising that “we had so much possession”. With the penalty he then “punched everything in the shot as if it were my last today. It worked out well.”
He and his offensive colleagues were immediately at operating temperature during the first RB appearance in the knockout round of the premier class. After 28 seconds, Patrik Schick just missed the Tottenham goal with his shot. A minute later, a double chance: first Werner’s attempt was blocked, then Hotspur keeper Hugo Lloris steered the ball to the left post after Angelino’s shot.
In the years that followed, the Bundesliga second kept embarrassing Tottenham with his speed football. Only Steven Bergwijn checked RB goalkeeper Peter Gulasci (8th), the margin Dele Alli did not put in the Leipzig goal. But that was almost it with the aggressiveness of the Londoners.
The absence of the long-term injured Harry Kane and the loss of former Bundesliga star Heung-Min Son due to a broken arm was felt on the Londoners’ offensive. Neither will be in the second leg either. The RB cover, in which Dayot Upamecano was missing due to a yellow card suspension, was rarely in danger. The 19-year-old Ethan Ampadu made a very strong and passable impression on his second starting line-up as a middle man in the chain of three.
So the Saxons could switch to attack. In the first 45 minutes, the guests had over 60 percent possession of the ball and 13: 3 shots on goal – one goal alone did not succeed before the break. Even clearest options such as the header from Schick (17th) after a corner kick and the shot from Werner (36th), which failed free-standing against Lloris, left them unused.
After the change, Tottenham had the first dangerous action by Lucas Moura (48.). Afterwards, the audience was offered the same picture as in half one. But to finally take the lead, the Leipzig team needed a penalty. After Ben Davies’ foul on Konrad Laimer, international Werner (58.) converted safely and ended his five competitive goals. Laimer injured himself in the foul and had to get out in the 83rd minute. Shortly after the lead, Schick could have increased, but failed again due to the strong Lloris (62nd).
Afterwards, the people of Leipzig took it easy. Tottenham was a little stronger. A free kick by Giovani Lo Celso (73.), which Gulasci was still guiding to the post, was one of the few exciters
for RB. In the final phase, the hosts – driven by their coach Mourinho on the outside line – increased the pressure. But Leipzig’s defensive endured and saved victory over time.