Two games, two stunts. Club Brugge top the “group of death” after a 1-2 win in Leipzig, giving the Belgian champions the wings. Hans Vanaken – his fourth goal in four Champions League games – and Mats Reits – the first European goal in 25 games – ended the match in a sharp first half.
The first home match in the Champions League for fans in two years. RB Leipzig was looking forward to the match against Club like Blue and Black against PSG two weeks ago. Make movies during the Champions League anthem, sing along to the club’s song with all your heart, wrap your fist around your fist and just wave. The Red Bull Arena welcomed Club Brugge as if Paris Saint-Germain or Manchester City were on a visit.
Unfortunately for Pauline’s routine, Klopp played as if it were PSG or Manchester City. Or, to be more precise: Club Brugge played as RB Leipzig. The energy, high pressure, and precise passing we had come to expect from East Germans resonated with visitors from Belgium. Leipzig coach Jesse Marsh looked in horror. He felt like a general who saw his soldiers fall because of a tactic he had devised.
Leipzig was lucky to take the lead after five minutes. Christopher Nkunko’s goal – also against Manchester City – looked offside, but was approved after the VAR intervened. It was Simon Mignolet who was at the heart of the goal with a bad kick.
But just as happened two weeks ago against PSG, Club Brugge did not let itself lose its balance due to early disability. The divorced Hans Vanaken and Charles de Kettleri were combined without complication in the antagonist half. Peter Gulacsi, one of the best goalkeepers in the Bundesliga, made a save when De Kitleari was able to isolate Vanaken in front of goal.
Halfway through the first half, de Kettleri again found Vanaken in front of goal. This time the ball went against the ropes, but the line operator on the other side raised his flag. It looked offside, but the VAR again intervened in the attacking team’s favour. His goal made Hans Vanaken the first Belgian to score in four consecutive Champions League matches.
1-1 gave Club Brugge wings. Leipzig lost the duels and saw how bluish-black rose above himself. Noah Lang allowed Clinton to pass Mata, Hans Vanaken passed and, through Nordy Mukele Mats feet, put 1-2 on the board. In his 25th European match for the club, Malinoy scored his first goal.
Leipzig could only threaten through the stagnation phase – Denmark international Josef Poulsen headed a free kick from Dominic Zuboszlai over Mignolet’s goal. The force majeure in Bruges was demonstrated in the first half when Hans Vanaken offered his opponent Kevin Campbell with a beautiful gate.
After the break, Klopp increasingly defended his lead rather than looking for a third goal. Leipzig increased the pressure, but Simon Mignolet had no problem shooting a header from Sweden international Emil Forsberg. Marsh decided to sacrifice the velvet Szoboszlai for the Torinstinct of Andre Silva.
Meanwhile, the VAR continued to be busy. Leipzig demanded a penalty kick from Kamal Souh on Christopher Nkunku, but it was not clear enough. Sowa was immediately replaced by Clement. On the other hand, Noa Lang scored, but the examination showed that the Dutchman was offside. After that, Nkunko was once again hoping for a penalty when Mignolet ran out of his own. However, the Brugge goalkeeper got the ball first.
In the last quarter, Club Brugge continued to do its work in solidarity. Just like a couple of weeks ago against PSG, the Bruggelings didn’t explode. Physically, Philip Clement’s forces are very strong. They maintained their focus and unity for ninety minutes.
Leipzig turned blue on Tuesday. Earlier today, Brugge was also 1-4 in the Youth League. Bruges fans loudly confirmed themselves on the Market Square and when referee Slavko Vincic blew the final whistle, many fans had already left for their homes.
Coach Philippe Clement had promised three acrobatics in the Champions League before the match. After two games, the counter is already in the second. The club with Paris Saint-Germain leads the “group of death” and is already four points ahead of Leipzig. In the third and fourth matches, there is a double confrontation with Manchester City in the program. Not continuing in the Champions League would be really disappointing.
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