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RB Leipzig wins 4:1 against VfL Bochum and boosts confidence ahead of clash with Real Madrid

The Leipzig players celebrate a goal / Photo: Bernd Thissen/dpa
The Leipzig players celebrate a goal / Photo: Bernd Thissen/dpa

RB Leipzig win 4:1 against VfL Bochum and take heart ahead of Champions League match against Real Madrid.

RB Leipzig have gained new courage for the difficult Champions League clash with Real Madrid. Four days before the round of 16 second leg in the Spanish capital, coach Marco Rose's team secured an impressive 4:1 (1:1) win at VfL Bochum, who have been strong at home recently. After a poor start to the year so far, the visitors lived up to their role as favorites and remain just one point behind fourth-placed Dortmund in the Bundesliga. In front of 24,200 spectators at the Vonovia Ruhrstadion, Dani Olmo (30th minute), Lois Openda (68th), Ivan Ordets (own goal/71st) and Yussuf Poulsen (72nd) secured a deserved victory for the visitors.

On the other hand, VfL, who had beaten German record champions FC Bayern at the same venue two weeks ago and were hoping for another coup after Maximilian Wittek's early goal (3rd), suffered a setback for the first time after eight home games without defeat. The red card for Moritz Kwarteng in the 86th minute after a rough foul added to the frustration.

A furious start to the game ensured early excitement in the stands. Handicapped by the absence of various regular players, the hosts came close to going behind early on. Only the strong reaction of returnee Andreas Luthe, who was in the VfL goal for the first time in a Bundesliga match since October 18, 2009, prevented Leipzig from taking the lead when Xavi Simons shot in the third minute.

His counterpart Peter Gulacsi reacted less well than Luthe when Bochum had their first chance. The RB goalkeeper made a momentous mistake when Wittek's free-kick from just over 25 meters was allowed to go through. Leipzig's goal by Simons (14th), which was only disallowed after video evidence due to an offside position, supposedly made it 1:1 and added to the entertainment value of the eventful first few minutes.

In an open exchange of blows until then, the visitors increasingly gained control and repeatedly exposed the shortcomings in the VfL defense with quick counterattacks. The better playing culture was rewarded: Olmo's well-placed shot from 20 meters into the corner of the goal after a quick combination play was unstoppable even for Riemann substitute Luthe.

From then on, the balance of power on the pitch was more clearly distributed. Leipzig dominated the game, Bochum relied on counter-attacking. However, spectators did not see as many goalmouth scrambles as at the start of the game until half-time.

After the restart, the game flattened out further as both teams allowed themselves too many easy mistakes in the build-up. RB coach Rose made three changes in the 65th minute in an attempt to liven up his team's bland play. That proved to be a clever move. Just three minutes after his substitution, Openda gave his side the lead when he scored with a low shot into the far corner after a pass from Amadou Haidara.

This goal proved to be the turning point in Leipzig's favor. When the eye-catching Simons attempted a cross in front of the Bochum goal, VfL defender Ordets put the ball into his own net. The 4:1 scoreline from substitute Poulsen finally broke Bochum's resistance.

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