TIn spite of a gala evening by Christopher Nkunku, RB Leipzig experienced a bitter lesson in the Champions League. Four days after the 1: 4 bankruptcy against FC Bayern, the Saxons lost 3: 6 (1: 3) to Pep Guardiola’s star football team from Manchester City on Wednesday evening. The 23-year-old Nkunku scored all three goals (42nd / 51st / 73rd minute) for the team of the new coach Jesse Marsch – but the English champions were able to keep up and were in some cases clearly superior.
Nathan Aké (16th), Leipzig’s Nordi Mukiele (28th / own goal), Riyad Mahrez (45th + 2 / hand penalty), Jack Grealish (56th), João Cancelo (75th) and Gabriel Jesus ( 85.) scored for the Cityzens. In the final phase, Leipzig also weakened itself: Angeliño was sent off with yellow-red (79th).
The German runner-up was challenged from the start. In a fine, dark suit with a tie, Marsch kept shouting instructions to the field, his Leipzigers struggling to find an offensive way into the game. Manchester played with a lot of speed and direct passes to the top – but needed a set piece to lead. In a corner kick from the expensive newcomer Grealish, Aké prevailed in front of the goal against Mukiele and Willi Orban, Peter Gulacsi could no longer hold his header from close range.
Guardiola cheered briefly and vigorously in his 300th game as city coach, but then immediately demanded concentration from his Skyblues. The former Bayern coach gesticulated wildly and was often back in his element outside of his coaching zone. Marsch had warned shortly before the game: Man City was one of the “best opponents in the whole world”. Compared to the Bayern game, his team must be much more compact. That became increasingly difficult against the star players around Kevin De Bruyne, who returned after a long injury break.
In the Umschaltspiel the Leipzig too often missed the decisive moment for the pass into the city half – and everything went wrong in defense. Mukiele missed his own goal after a dangerous cross from De Bruyne in a completely unsuccessful rescue attempt with his head. Within half an hour, the hopes of the few RB fans who had traveled with them for a surprise in England had been put down quite a bit.
The morale was right in the march team, it was not for nothing that the American asked his players to be very courageous. After a powerful run by Angeliño, Aké cleared his cross in front of André Silva (38th). Shortly before the break, Nkunku rewarded Leipzig’s follow-up in the city penalty area after a cross from Emil Forsberg and a header from Mukiele. The joy only lasted a few minutes. A handball by Lukas Klostermann in the header duel in the penalty area led to the penalty, which Mahrez safely converted.
Leipzig was faced with a difficult task in the second half, but then received unexpected help from the Guardiola-Elf. Dani Olmo was allowed to dribble freely into the Cityzens penalty area and, perfectly timed, put his cross on Nkunku, who made his teammates cheer again. But then Grealish showed his class: The 26-year-old started solo in the Leipzig penalty area and slipped heavily into the RB goal.
Marsch reacted and made three changes, with City player Ilkay Gündogan playing (60th). The hosts subsequently took the pace off their offensive again and again. Again Nkunku caused tension again almost 20 minutes before the end – but again only for a short time because João Cancelo countered the goal with a long shot. Gabriel Jesus even let the City fans cheer again.