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Defeat after leading 2:0: Leipzig loses in Manchester

Manchester City's Phil Foden (l) scores to make it 2-2 / Photo: Dave Thompson/AP/dpa
Manchester City's Phil Foden (l) scores to make it 2-2 / Photo: Dave Thompson/AP/dpa

RB leads 2:0 at the defending champions. But then Manchester City show all their class. A bitter end for Leipzig.

Leipzig coach Marco Rose congratulated the City super striker Erling Haaland, who was rather reserved this time, while the RB professionals looked perplexed and disappointed. Even a 2-0 lead thanks to a brace from Lois Openda was not enough for the Saxon Bundesliga club to win at the scene of its greatest disgrace. The revenge for the 7-0 defeat at Manchester City just over eight months ago came to nothing, with the defending Champions League champions winning 3:2 (0:2) on Tuesday evening to remain unbeaten in their 18th game in the top flight.

"Before that, we silenced the stadium properly," said keeper Janis Blaswich on the streaming service DAZN. But it wasn't easy at any stage. The goals conceded were all close, "where we might have been able to get a foot in front".

After the 23-year-old Openda scored in the 13th and 33rd minutes, Haaland (54th) started the comeback before Phil Foden (70th) equalized. Julian Alvarez scored the winning goal in the 87th minute. The battle for top spot in the group has now been decided between the teams that had already qualified: With 13 points, City can no longer be displaced from first place.

Leipzig wanted to avoid one thing above all else: Another disgrace like the one on March 14 at the same venue. "It's not about doing something special or different, it's about winning here," emphasized Rose shortly before kick-off on DAZN.

RB had to do without the support of their active fans, however. Because, according to the club, they were not allowed to take paraphernalia into the stadium, contrary to previous agreements, they did not go in either.

A German in the City goal

Openda scored the first goal early on. He took a long ball from Leipzig keeper Janis Blaswich a few meters past the halfway line, was not properly tackled by City man-marker Manuel Akanji, ran towards goal and played the ball past Stefan Ortega. Manchester coach Pep Guardiola gave his German substitute keeper a chance.

The 31-year-old, who joined City from Arminia Bielefeld in the summer of 2021, was unable to prevent the goal. Guardiola shook his head, Rose screamed his delight. In possession, he had his Leipzig team play with a five-man back line and a four-man front line. And that caused problems for the home side.

Where was Haaland?

During a brief treatment break, Guardiola called some of his players over, gesticulating and talking to his professionals. After 30 minutes, his team had only had two chances, one of which Rúben Dias missed with a header from close range in the 16th minute. The other was missed by Rico Lewis (30') from 13 meters. Haaland, who had scored five goals in the 7-0 win, was nowhere to be seen for a whole half.

Instead, Leipzig's Openda was initially the man of the evening. He also scored the second goal after a long run. Josko Gvardiol, who had visited his former Leipzig colleagues the day before, was unable to separate the Belgian, who had joined RB from RC Lens in the summer, from the ball just before he scored.

The big question: What would City do after the break? Haaland provided the answer after just under ten minutes when he scored the equalizer after a fine pass. And now City really turned up the heat, with Leipzig gathering around 20 meters outside the penalty area. It was no use. Foden scored from around 14 meters after a pass from Gvardiol, before Alvarez was also successful and turned the game around completely.

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