Leipzig are now within just a point of progressing through to the UEFA Champions League knockout stages after a memorable 3-2 win over current European champions Real Madrid at the Red Bull Arena.
After a blistering start which saw them go 2-0 up in side the opening 20 minutes, Timo Werner got the clinching goal which secured all three points for the German outfit, despite a late penalty which was converted by Rodrygo for the visitors.
A superb header from Vinicius Junior right before half time left the Leipzig faithful nervy for much of the second half, but Werner’s tap-in after an excellent lung-busting run and square ball from Mohamed Simakan had the home support in delirium.
Shakhtar Donetsk’s draw at Celtic Park this evening means that Leipzig still need a draw when they face the Ukrainian side at their temporary home in Poland next Wednesday.
Real Madrid had already qualified for the next round following their draw over Shakhtar on matchday four, but first place in the group is well up for grabs again, and any slip ups by the Spaniards against Celtic could leave the door open for Leipzig to overtake Carlo Ancelotti’s side.
Therefore, with qualification already secured, Luka Modric, Federico Valverde, and Ballon D’or winner Karim Benzema were all left at home to manage their game time and keep them fresh for domestic matters to come.
Their presence was missed from the outset, as Leipzig raced into an early commanding lead, with Josko Gvardiol and Christopher Nkunku both on the scoresheet in the opening quarter of the match.
Gvardiol was first to pounce after Thibaut Courtois made a mess of Andre Silva’s header from a corner, with the Croatian defender having the simple task of prodding home from inside the six-yard box.
That was before Nkunku latched onto a fortunate bounce on the edge of the penalty area before firing home a thunderous strike which crashed in off the underside of the crossbar.
Vinicius brought the 14-time winners back into the game late in the first half, but they rarely threatened in the second half, failing to have another shot on goal until stoppage time.
Leipzig were given a very late scare when Nkunku dangled a lazy leg in the penalty area to bring down Rodrygo, who then tucked the penalty away himself, but it was too little too late as Real left empty handed.
Real will turn their attentions to their fixture with Girona at the weekend, hoping they can welcome back the trio who missed out here as they look at maintain their three-point lead over Barcelona in the La Liga table.