Tottenham vs RB Leipzig: ‘Brave’ Julian Nagelsmann justifies the hype to outclass Jose Mourinho

Beyond the 1-0 result which sees RB Leipzig take a lead and an away goal into their home leg of this Champions League tie with Tottenham, there were other numbers that highlight a perfectly executed gameplay from the visitors.

It began in the first half, with 63 per cent possession and 12 shots. They may be a side who enjoy playing on the break, but against a Tottenham side they did not fear, they decided to use that speed to create wave after wave of attack. 10 of those efforts on goal were registered in the opening 20 minutes. 

The second-half was more reserved. This time, Leipzig were happy to play to type, especially after Timo Werner converted a 58th-minute penalty. That was one of only four shots taken after half-time, as they ceded more of the ball. Tottenham would have eight attempts, though none were particularly clear cut, as the Germans decided now was the time to indulge their transitional ways. 

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It is why Julian Nagelsmann was understandably chipper in his post-match press conference, a stark contrast to Jose Mourinho’s woe-is-me performance. On every front, it was measured display for an inexperienced side taking part in their first Champions League knock-out match. And indeed for Nagelsmann, only his third match on English soil. 

“We always try to attack the opponents very early and try to win the ball high up in their half,” said Nagelsmann. 

“Today, in the second half, we tried to create a bit more of a counter. It’s normal that we would have to defend a bit deeper later on, at only 1-0.

“It was the first knockout match for a lot of the players and the atmosphere in the stadium was imposing. When you take that into consideration, we did well.”

Nevertheless, there will be a tinge of disappointment that his side did not win by more. Werner should have beaten Hugo Lloris at the near post with a chance in the second minute. Patrik Schick was responsible for arguably the miss of the match: in acres of space after Werner’s fine dummy took out two defenders but striking his effort at a saveable height to Lloris’ left.

The Frenchman is the only reason there remains jeopardy in this tie ahead of the return leg at the Red Bull Arena in a fortnight, taking home the player-of-the-match award as a result. 

As for that fixture, Nagelsmann hopes for more of the same. There were queries about how sustainable such an approach is especially as the Bundesliga season culminates with Leipzig a point behind leaders Bayern Munich with 12 matches still to play. 

Of course, being at home will naturally see them be more pro-active in attack especially if they can kill off the tie quickly by learning from their spurned chances in the opening exchanges here. But the 32-year old has promised nothing less than what the travelling support saw at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium. 


Ratings: Spurs vs Leipzig





1/22 Hugo Lloris 7

2/22 Serge Aurier 5

3/22 Davinson Sanchez 6

4/22 Toby Alderweireld 5

5/22 Ben Davies 5

6/22 Gedson Fernandes 5

7/22 Giovani Lo Celso 7

8/22 Harry Winks 5

9/22 Steven Bergwijn 7

10/22 Dele Alli 6

11/22 Lucas Moura 5

12/22 Peter Gulacsi 7

13/22 Lukas Klostermann 6

14/22 Ethan Ampadu 7

15/22 Marcel Halstenberg 6

16/22 Nordi Mukiele 7

17/22 Konrad Laimer 7

18/22 Marcel Sabitzer 7

19/22 Angelino 8

20/22 Christopher Nkunku 6

21/22 Patrik Schick 6

22/22 Timo Werner 7

1/22 Hugo Lloris 7

2/22 Serge Aurier 5

3/22 Davinson Sanchez 6

4/22 Toby Alderweireld 5

5/22 Ben Davies 5

6/22 Gedson Fernandes 5

7/22 Giovani Lo Celso 7

8/22 Harry Winks 5

9/22 Steven Bergwijn 7

10/22 Dele Alli 6

11/22 Lucas Moura 5

12/22 Peter Gulacsi 7

13/22 Lukas Klostermann 6

14/22 Ethan Ampadu 7

15/22 Marcel Halstenberg 6

16/22 Nordi Mukiele 7

17/22 Konrad Laimer 7

18/22 Marcel Sabitzer 7

19/22 Angelino 8

20/22 Christopher Nkunku 6

21/22 Patrik Schick 6

22/22 Timo Werner 7

“In the second leg, we will do it, I promise you, in the same way,” he remarked. 

“Our ideas came to the fore and we implemented the plan well. That’s exactly how we want to play in the second leg; brave and attacking, with a lot of confidence.”

Naturally, he was asked about his future any potential interest in the Premier League. “I’m not thinking about the Premier League now,” was his genial response. Understandable considering the stakes in both the Bundesliga and in Europe.

From a personal point of view, there are a few other milestones to tick off. The youngest Champions League coach, the youngest to coach a team to top of their group, the youngest to coach a knockout match and, now, the youngest to win one. Every immediate step Naglesmann seems to take is historic. 

His next could see him and RB Leipzig into the quarter-finals and among Europe’s elite. And there will be many more beyond the Premier League vying for his affection. 

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