Bundesliga Review: RB Leipzig keep title race alive with late comeback

“File:2019-07-12 Fußball; Freundschaftsspiel RB Leipzig – FC Zürich 1DX 0881 by Stepro.jpg” by Steffen Prößdorf is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

RB Leipzig 3-2 Borussia Monchengladbach:

The ‘Topspiel’ lived up to its name this weekend as RB Leipzig dramatically completed a comeback in the dying moments against Borussia Monchengladbach.

Gladbach had taken an early lead after Dayot Upamecano fouled Breel Embolo to give Gladbach a penalty which Jonas Hoffman converted, just. As Peter Gulacsi managed to get a fingertip on it. Then a Valentino Lazaro cross was met by Embolo, only for Marcus Thuram to turn the ball in, after it looked like it was going out.

After this Leipzig began to grow into the game. With every attack they looked more and more dangerous but Gladbach were able to withstand the onslaught and made it to half-time 2-0 up.

Coming out of half-time Leipzig were relentless and piled on the pressure on Gladbach. This time they were able to breakthrough through Christoph Nkunku after he turned in a Alexander Sorloth cross. Yussuf Poulsen then grabbed an unlikely equaliser to set up a tense ending in the Red Bull Arena.

Leipzig kept on pushing for the winner they deserved, as they had been the better team throughout the game despite going two goals down so early. That winner came late on in the 93rd minute from an unlikely source in Sorloth. After a cross from Nkunku, Sorloth rose highest to score his second goal of the season practically ended any hope for Gladbach and the Champions League next season. Emil Forsberg made matter worse with a late goal, but that was ruled out for offside.

This was a big win for Leipzig as it means they maintain the two point gap behind Bayern Munich which sets up the Der Klassiker nicely next weekend, and it also shows their improvement as a team. Last season, Gladbach and Leipzig drew 2-2 which cost Leipzig, but now it shows that they have changed their mentality of the team and are now winning games which may have costed them in the past.

The 3-2 loss to Mainz was clearly a big turning point for the team and they have learnt from that, which has allowed them to keep pushing in games. It will be interesting if what I have just said is true as they come up against a difficult team in SC Freiburg next week, where a win will see them go top of the table, albeit possibly for a few hours.

For Gladbach however it is another dent in their season. That loss does heavily effect their chances of making the Champions League this season and now must try and push for the Europa League, which itself still looks unlikely. Gladbach must recover quickly as they host Borussia Dortmund in the quarter-finals of the DFB Pokal so much put in a performance similar to their win in January as this is their only realistic chance of silverware. I expect a strong Gladbach team to play against Dortmund after several key players were rested in the Leipzig game and it will also be interesting to see the reaction of the Gladbach players to try and beat Marco Rose’s future team.

VFL Stuttgart 5-1 Schalke 04:

This game was not actually going to be mentioned in the main body of the review, but its more the consequences of this game that have seen here.

Stuttgart swept Schalke aside with ease and slowly stake themselves as one of the most exicting teams in the Bundesliga. Borna Sosa continued his great season at left wing back for Stuttgart. But most surprisingly, Wataru Endo who has played every game for Stuttgart, and is at the heart of their defensive efforts managed to back himself two goals and two assists. Another stand out performer for Stuttgart this season has been Sasa Kalajdzic who has been amongst the goals in the past few games and that continued into this game. Stuttgart will defiantly be an interesting team come next year when they have had Bundesliga experience.

Schalke on the other hand WILL be in the 2.Bundesliga next year. The aftermath of this poor performance highlighted the state that the Die Konigsblauen are in. Early on Sunday morning , it was reported that Schalke had parted ways with manager Christian Gross. This ended up being confirmed later on in the day by the club. It wasn’t just Gross who was dismissed, head of sport Jochen Schnieder, team coordinator Sascha Riether, athletic trainer Werner Leuthard and assistant coach Rainer Widmayer were all relieved of their duties.

Gross was Schalke’s fourth manager of the season as they now begin the search for a new one. It is being reported that Bochum youth coach, Dimitrios Grammozis could possibly lead the team from now and in the 2.Bundesliga or current Paderborn manager Steffen Baumgart is another option. Its clear that Schalke are beginning the planning process for their time in 2.Bundesliga.

Keep an eye out for the outgoings this summer as Weston McKennie and Ozan Kabak are probably the most likely departures and it will be interesting to see the direction Schalke go in. Whether that be backing youth with a player the quality of Matthew Hoppe upfront or go down the route of experience. Whatever way they go, it will be fascinating to see how Schalke do.

Bayern Munich 5-1 FC Köln:

Robert Lewandowski continued his pursuit of Gerd Muller’s goal scoring record as he bagged himself two goals in resounding Bayern win, where Koln caused them very little issues apart from dispossessing Neuer when he was trying to play the ball out from the back, only for the attempted shot to hit the post.

Thomas Muller and Serge Gnabry both made their returns. Muller managed to provide an assist to one of Lewandowski’s goals, while Gnarby managed two goals and will be looking to fight Leroy Sane for the right-wing position at Bayern which will be an interesting one as both offer two completely different styles of play, with Gnabry being more of a clinical finisher than Sane, who prefers to run at defenders. But both are young and exciting, so in the future both should be able to work in harmony along with Kingsley Coman and Jamal Musiala.

Leon Goretzka also had a very good game as he provide three assists hopefully showing that he is adding a new side to his game, which would make him an even more well rounded player than he already is. While Niklas Rule continues to play right-back which is something I am still unable to get my head around.

Talking Points:
  • Maxence Lacroix continued to show why he is one of the best young defenders in the Bundesliga after his performance against Hertha Berlin. He once again proved how much of a rock at the back he is after a clean sheet. But he is also showing to be a presence in the air as he was able to bag himself a late goal to secure the win for Wolfsburg. It is only a matter of time before a big team begins sniffing around him.
  • Eintracht Frankfurt surprisingly lost 2-1 to Werder Bremen on Friday night, but it was away from the game itself which grabbed the headlines. Adi Hutter, the Frankfurt manager, was not particularly happy with the way Florian Kohfeldt’s staff reacted to the Bremen win, so it results in a minor altercation on the touchline.
  • Borussia Dortmund put in another good performance at home against Arminia Bielefeld. Surprisingly, Erling Braut Haland didn’t grab himself a goal and instead when in a two on one, he squared the ball to Reinier who score his first goal for Dortmund. Mohammed Dahoud also continued his fine form bagging himself another goal as he has looked to of revived his Dortmund career under Edin Terzick, while also striking a good partnership with Jude Bellingham.

Published by Jack

I write about European football, while sometimes dipping into the English side of the game. Anything that needs to be written about European football, I will do it. Whether it's​ from the next rising star in Germany to an underdog team in the Champions League.

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