Champions League recap: Leipzig show courage to qualify | UEFA Champions League

Leipzig recovered well from setbacks at Manchester United and Paris to show that last season’s semi-final appearance was not necessarily a one-off.

UEFA.tv: group stage review


Campaign so far

Highlights: Leipzig 3-2 Man. United (2 mins)

Highlights: Leipzig 3-2 Man. United (2 mins)

Group H runners-up: W4 D0 L2 F11 A12
Top scorer: Angeliño (3)

20/10: Leipzig 2-0 Başakşehir (Angeliño 16, 20)
28/10: Man. United 5-0 Leipzig
04/11: Leipzig 2-1 Paris (Nkunku 42, Forsberg 57pen)
24/11: Paris 1-0 Leipzig
02/12
: Başakşehir 3-4 Leipzig (Poulsen 26, Mukiele 43, Olmo 66, Sørtloth 90+2)
08/12: Leipzig 3-2 Man. United (Angeliño 2, Haidara 13, Kluivert 69)

Their campaign in ten words: Brash newcomers are dark horses again after navigating difficult group.

UEFA.com reporter’s view

Leipzig suffered heavy blows in Manchester and Paris that threatened their knockout hopes, but the path to qualification from this testing group was always within reach. The groundwork was laid with two hard-fought victories over Başakşehir, including an added-time winner in Istanbul, yet home wins against Paris and United ultimately made the difference. The latter, in particular, was a display defined by courage and character in an all-or-nothing showdown for the last 16.
Jordan Maciel, Leipzig reporter

What we’ve learned

Highlights: İstanbul Başakşehir 3-4 Leipzig (2 mins)

Highlights: İstanbul Başakşehir 3-4 Leipzig (2 mins)

Equipped with more experience after making their debut last season, Leipzig have upped their work-rate even more. Their intense, high pressing was second to none in the group phase; their full-backs are extremely adventurous and make Leipzig very hard to defend against, though United and Paris exploited Leipzig’s willingness to take risks. Connoisseurs of fast-paced action will be counting down the nights until they take on Liverpool.

Squad changes

In: Dominik Szoboszlai
Out: Dennis Borkowski, Eric Martel, Tim Schreiber, Philipp Tschauner

Key stats

• Leipzig’s combative style is reflected in their stats: they made the most tackles of any side in the group stage, averaging 22.2 per game.

• Julian Nagelsmann’s team’s aggression can get the better of them: they also committed more fouls per game (18.5) than any other outfit in this autumn’s group stage.

Leipzig coach Julian Nagelsmann

Leipzig coach Julian NagelsmannGetty Images

• They do not need the ball that much; of the clubs in the last 16, only Atalanta, Lazio, Mönchengladbach and Porto averaged less group-stage possession than Leipzig.

Who’s in charge?

Noted for his precocity and sartorial sharpness, 33-year-old Nagelsmann was widely lauded for guiding Leipzig to the UEFA Champions League final four during his first term in charge, 2019/20 – earning third place in the UEFA Men’s Coach of the Year award.

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