German Sport

Narrow victory in Belgrade: Leipzig is in the round of 16 of the Champions League

As of: November 7th, 2023 10:53 p.m

In the Champions League, RB Leipzig was ahead by two goals at Red Star Belgrade shortly before the end – and yet had to tremble.

In Belgrade, RB Leipzig dominated the game, but did not make enough of this superiority. Xavi Simons (8th minute) and Loïs Openda (77th) secured the 2:1 (1:0) success with their goals. Shortly before the end of the game, Red Star shortened the score, the goalscorer was a Leipzig player: Benjamin Henrichs hit the wrong goal (81′).

It was the third victory for Leipzig in the fourth game in the preliminary round of the Champions League, meaning coach Marco Rose’s team is in the round of 16 early with nine points because Manchester City also won in the parallel game (12 points). For Belgrade and the Young Boys from Bern (one point each) it is only about third place and a place in the Europa League.

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Xavi Simons shoots and Leipzig celebrates

The early lead for Leipzig fell when Xavi Simons got the ball in the center. There were Belgrade footballers around him, but no one attacked him. The rest was an expression of individual class: Xavi Simons shot from 15 meters, and he shot it right into the top right corner.

Red Star Belgrade didn’t find its way into the game for a long time, and the hosts only had one real opportunity before the break when Osman Bukari headed past the goal (11th). And shortly before the end of the first half, it was Bukari again who caused excitement on the Leipzig bench. After a through pass, he appeared in front of goalkeeper Janis Blaswich, but failed. A goal wouldn’t have counted anyway, it was offside.

Sesko, Openda, Forsberg – Leipzig’s usury of opportunities

Apart from these two scenes, it was always the people of Leipzig who caused a stir. After a pass from Xavi Simons, Sesko got the ball on the left side and looked for a shot, but only hit the side netting (24th).

But there were three opportunities immediately before and after the half-time whistle that were even better: First, Openda appeared free in front of goalkeeper Omri Glazer, but slowed down and failed in a one-on-one (43′). Shortly afterwards, Openda fed Emil Forsberg, who had a lot of time at the penalty spot and then shot past to the right (45th + 2). And then Sesko ran with the ball towards the goal before he shot from 20 meters but only hit the post (51st).

Openda follows up

When RB Leipzig scored a second goal later, it came in the middle of a phase in which Red Star was pushing for an equalizer. This was observed in the 73rd minute when Peter Olayinka was denied by goalkeeper Blaswich from close range. Blaswich also parried Cherif Ndiaye’s follow-up shot.

Then Xaver Schlager prevailed against two opponents and then served Openda. The Belgian shook off Milan Rodic, added another turn and then hit the ball low into the left corner from a half-left position.

Henrichs hits the wrong net

For a moment it looked as if this encounter was over. Then Belgrade’s Guelor Kanga crossed, Leipzig’s Henrichs made an unfortunate deflection and suddenly RB had to tremble again. But this own goal would remain the last goal of the game.

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