RB Leipzig coach Marco Rose has praised the development of striker Loïs Openda and sees even greater potential. "We're talking about details, about first contact, about positioning," said Rose after the 2:1 win against 1. FC Heidenheim. "That's why he came here, to get better."
Openda had given Leipzig the lead against Heidenheim with a penalty, his tenth goal in his 13th Bundesliga match. Overall, his Leipzig tally stands at 14 goals and three assists in 21 games. The €40 million-plus addition has thus far fully compensated for the sale of top scorer Christopher Nkunku to Chelsea FC.
"I think he has absolute added value and that's important for me to emphasize," said Rose, describing the Belgian international's strengths: "The boy gives us so much, he's so uncomfortable to defend against. He makes so many runs, is so strong with his low center of gravity, runs away from opponents."
Openda is currently standing out in a Leipzig team that has been somewhat battered. Even if he joined his colleagues in wasting chances against Heidenheim. "It's not so easy for us to win games at the moment," said Rose. We are not in the most effective phase. "I'm sure that if we keep working, things will get easier for us again than they are at the moment."
Leipzig practically had themselves to blame for the narrow result against Heidenheim. The Saxons should have scored at least four goals from their chances. The statistical value of "expected goals" alone was 4.14. Heidenheim proved to be much more effective, which is why the game remained exciting until the end.
Heidensheim coach Frank Schmidt spoke of a deserved victory for Leipzig, but quibbled with referee Christian Dingert's penalty decision in the first half. "I have the greatest respect and I think the referees also know that it's not easy to referee games," said Schmidt. "But on the other hand, when I see the penalty today, I just have to say it wasn't a penalty." In Schmidt's opinion, Norman Theuerkauf played the ball in a duel against Openda in the scene in question.
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