For matchday 21, RB Leipzig made a four hour journey west to face a Borussia Mönchengladbach side lurking just one point behind them in table. Going into the game, Leipzig were without a win in the last two, whilst Gladbach were looking to extended their five match unbeaten streak at home in the league.
Leipzig’s line-up saw the return of Naby Keïta in midfield, having started the game vs. Hamburger SV on the bench. Deadline day signing Ademola Lookman made the bench whilst Klostermann continued in the left-back berth due to Halstenberg’s long-term injury.
The game’s first chance fell into the hands of the visitors, and more specifically, Marcel Sabitzer in the 6th minute. Finding a large pocket of space between the lines, Sabitzer was picked out by Demme with a pass, he took a touch with the instep of his foot, before firing a left-footed shot directly at Tobias Sippel.
Thorgan Hazard would come close to putting his side in the lead with a quarter of an hour gone. After Bruma was dispossessed in the centre-circle, Hazard receives the ball in a wide area and runs toward a back-tracking Upamecano, forcing the teenager to lose his footing. Approaching the 6 yard box, the Belgian tries his luck, but his attempt is blocked.
A minute later, Bruma forces Sippel into making his first note-worthy save of the game. Handed possession with his back to goal, the Portuguese winger does well to turn with two markers on his case. Having found space, he unleashes a shot which Sippel is able to get a strong wrist onto, deflecting the ball out for a corner.
Just after the half-hour point, both sides have an opportunity in quick succession. Sabitzer’s attempt to return a pass to Laimer fell at the feet of Timo Werner. The German tries to get a shot away whilst off balanced, sending the ball wide of the post. Seconds later, Hazard thought he was one-on-one with Gulácsi, but was deemed offside after forcing a save out of the goalkeeper.
With neither side able to create a clear-cut opportunity, the fans were treated to a mild piece of entertainment before the break. As a result of a deep free-kick launched into the box, the ball bounced around in Leipzig area’s before it was hooked clear to safety.
The visitors were quick to get out of the block in the second-half, as they were able to create a chance within 30 seconds of the restart. Arriving late at the back post Keïta at the back post; the Guinean does well to strike the ball as it came across his body.
After five minutes of soaking up Leipzig’s pressure, Gladbach had the best opportunity of the game, thus far. Having been picked out by Grifo’s cross, Herrmann found himself one-on-one with Gulácsi and was denied by the Hungarian from point-blank range. The ball bounced back to Herrmann, who elected to tee up Stindl, but his shot was blocked by Klostermann.
In the 60th minute, Leipzig were once again denied by Sippel. This time, Sabitzer collects the ball from Klostermann 25 yards from goal with a lot of space in front of him. The Austrian opens up his body and tries to curl the ball into the top corner, but is denied by an impressive save.
The game’s narrative was descending into a story of two goalkeepers, with both Gulácsi and Sippel standing firm for their respective teams. Somehow, Keïta fails to break the deadlock in the 74th minute. Getting on the end of a well-hit cross, the 22-year-old is unable to adjust his body in time, as the ball strikes him on the thigh, deviating it over the bar.
Despite a heroic performance from Gladbach’s deputy keeper, Leipzig finally scored with 88 minutes on the clock. Just over 10 minutes after being introduced for his debut, Ademola Lookman is granted the ball well into Gladbach’s half, and drove at the heart of their defence. Using Werner’s run as a decoy, he was able to create an angle for himself, scuffing a shot across the goalkeeper and into the side of the net.
Despite one final Mönchengladbach opportunity, in which Gulácsi saved, Leipzig were able to hold onto their first away victory in 2018, moving them up to 3rd in the table, four points ahead of their opposition.