RB Leipzig 2-2 Borussia Monchengladbach
RB Leipzig are no longer Bundesliga leaders. The Red Bulls, who entered 2020 as winter champions, have been knocked off their perch after a 2-2 draw at home against Borussia Monchengladbach.
Christophe Nkunku scored a late equaliser to claim a point against Gladbach, who were unable to preserve a two-goal first-half lead. They had to play the last half-hour with just 10 men after striker Alassane Plea was sent off.
As highlighted in the SBOTOP preview of the match, Leipzig-Gladbach had huge implications to the title race, and so it proved. That draw, coupled with last week’s 2-0 loss to Eintracht Frankfurt, allowed an in-form Bayern Munich side to reclaim a one-point lead.
And now, the Bundesliga 2020 predictions are leaning even more toward the defending champions maintaining their crown.
Highlights of the game
Leipzig were in the middle of some big Bundesliga 2020 news last week after former coach Ralf Rangnick ripped the team for flying in a celebrity hairdresser from London after their defeat to Frankfurt.
But much to Rangnick’s and current Leipzig manager Julian Nagelsmann’s dismay, that dressing down didn’t seem to do much to improve the side’s play.
Gladbach very nearly got off to a perfect start as they created the first big chance of the game after just five minutes. Plea forced a fine save from Leipzig keeper Peter Gulacsi, who then made an even better stop to deny Oscar Wendt from scoring on the rebound.
The visitors had another decent chance go one up on 16 minutes as Jonas Hofmann was unable to get his shot to curl into the top corner.
But Gladbach’s early pressure eventually paid off as they got the opening goal on 24 minutes. A terrific passing move involving Gladbach’s front four eventually saw Wendt tee up Plea for a strike, and the Frenchman finished with some precision.
The visitors almost made it two on 34 minutes. Thuram was sprung loose and had a one-on-one opportunity against Gulasci. But Leipzig defender Tobias Strobl made a brilliant recovery to block the young Frenchman’s left-footed shot.
However, Gladbach would get their second just a few moments later. Leipzig turned the ball over while trying to play out from the back and paid for it dearly as Hofmann fired past Gulasci. The leaders were in big trouble now.
Nagelsmann made some big changes at half-time by putting on two forwards in Yussuf Poulsen and Patrik Schick. And it took just five minutes after the break for those moves to pay off, although there was a big element of luck to it.
Gladbach keeper Yann Sommer got tangled up with his own defender while trying to claim a Leipzig cross. As a result, he spilt the ball onto the path of Schick, who reacted quickly and stabbed the ball into the open goal.
Things would go from bad to worse for Gladbach as Plea was sent off right on the hour mark. The French forward was initially booked for complaining to the referee about not getting a free-kick. But his angry reaction to the booking led to the ref giving him another yellow, which meant he was off.
As expected, Leipzig piled on the pressure as 10-man Gladbach tried desperately to hold onto their lead. New signing Dani Olmo came on as a substitute and threatened the goal on a couple of occasions.
Gladbach finally gave in to the pressure on 89 minutes as Leipzig levelled it all up through Christophe Nkunku. The talented young Frenchman unleashed an unstoppable strike that just flew past a stunned Sommer.
Considering they were two goals down at the half, some might consider this a point gained for Leipzig. However, others will also consider it two massive points dropped in the context of the Bundesliga title race, which they are no longer the leaders of.
The final statistics leaned heavily toward Leipzig after the home side ramped up the intensity in the second half. They finished with 64 per cent of possession and outshot Gladbach, 18-7. They also had twice as many shots on target (8-4).
Leipzig’s star man Timo Werner had an uncharacteristically quiet game, though. Their top scorer was unable to add to his season tally of 20 league goals as he only got up three shots.
Meanwhile, Schick was able to launch an impressive five shots (two on target) in just 45 minutes on the pitch.
Leipzig will have a chance to get their revenge on Eintracht Frankfurt as they meet again in midweek, this time in the DFB Pokal. Then, it’s their big top-of-the-table clash with Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena next weekend, which should be a must-watch match.
As for Gladbach, they could potentially overtake Leipzig if they can pick up a home win against Koln, who were recently thrashed 5-1 by Dortmund.
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