What’s wrong at Leipzig?

Monday, June 8th, 2020 00:00 |
Leipzig’s German forward Timo Werner reacts during their Bundesliga match against Paderborn on Saturday. The match ended 1-1, Leipzig’s third draw in five ties. Photo/AFP

Berlin, Sunday

The two-and-a-half month break caused by Covid-19 was always likely to introduce an element of chaos theory into the Bundesliga season.

But as it has transpired, familiar failings rather than fresh ones have come to haunt RB Leipzig since the restart.

Their bizarre inability to take all three points in their home stadium has been an issue for most of this year and now it’s threatening to cost them the Champions League place that had long looked nailed-on.

Saturday’s 1-1 draw with bottom-of-the-table Paderborn was the fourth home game in succession—either side of the Covid break—and fifth this year that Leipzig have taken just one point instead of the expected three.

Borussia Monchengladbach, Bayer Leverkusen, Freiburg, Hertha Berlin and now Paderborn have all come away from the Red Bull Arena with draws in 2020 and Julian Nagelsmann must be at a loss to explain why his team can’t complete the job at home.

Though some of those can be regarded as tricky opponents, Leipzig have designs on being Bundesliga champions and so are games they must win.

The way Leipzig’s afternoon unravelled against a Paderborn team very much resigned to their relegation fate suggested all is not too well.

Nagelsmann’s side played some wonderful football in the first-half, the highlight being the flowing team goal teed up by Timo Werner and rounded off by Patrik Schick.

But defender Dayot Upamecano, a player regularly linked with Premier League clubs, was apparently on a self-destruct mission.

Already on a booking following an earlier foul, Upamecano inexplicably booted the ball away in frustration after being pulled up for an infringement two minutes before half-time and received a second yellow.

Despite being forced to sacrifice attacker Schick to firm things up with 10 men, Leipzig were seconds away from all three points after a battling second-half performance.

But Paderborn’s numerical advantage finally paid off when Christian Strohdiek reacted quickest to score when Leipzig goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi pushed out Marlon Ritter’s effort.

It was an all-too-familiar feeling of two points dropped at home and increasingly these results are having consequences for Leipzig.

When the Bundesliga resumed last month, they were just five points behind leaders Bayern Munich and, given the unpredictable nature of this unprecedented situation, still had every chance of winning their first Bundesliga title.

Now they are 11 points behind Bayern and the talk has switched from the championship to whether Leipzig can hold on to their Champions League place.

Leverkusen are just three points behind with four rounds of games remaining and one of the trio will be disappointed.  -Dailymail

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