Matthew Marshall –
Leipzig v Augsburg, LEIPZIG, GERMANY — RB Leipzig were held to a 0-0 draw against a well drilled and defensive Augsburg side at the Red Bull Arena. Matheus Cunha, Timo Werner and Marcel Sabitzer had opportunities to score for the hosts, Michael Gregoritsch with best chance for Augsburg which forced a fine save from Peter Gulacsi.
Werder v Schalke
9 March 2019, Red Bull Arena
Leipzig v Augsburg Goals: 0-0
Two points dropped
RB Leipzig were clear favourites to beat an Augsburg side that had conceded nine goals in their last two away matches. Head coach Ralf Rangnick knew what his side was in for, saying pre-match: “I think they will adopt a defensive strategy, which we will need to find solutions to be successful on Saturday.”
Unfortunately, his team were unable to find enough solutions when it mattered. Matheus Cunha tested Gregor Kobel, and Timo Werner headed over from close range in their best first-half opportunities.
Sabitzer had a strong game and looked certain to score late on, but his shot was deflected wide by Philipp Max. Marcel Halstenberg shot wide from a tight angle, Kevin Kampl shot at Gregor Kobel, and Werner saw a back post header saved but it wasn’t Leipzig’s day, too many uncharacteristic turnovers and the final pass continually lacking.
This match was two points dropped as Leipzig chase Champions League football. Rangnick was philosophical after the match, saying: “It was a tough game, as expected. We just lacked a slice of luck and the necessary force to break Augsburg down.”
Bundesliga Rookie of the Month nominee Tyler Adams agreed with his manager’s assessment, saying: “Augsburg were very strong defensively and we rarely managed to test their defence. Despite that, we still had a few good chances – the ball just wouldn’t go in the net.”
Timo Werner had an opportunity to shine in the absence of Yussuf Poulsen and looked up for the challenge early on. He was forced wide by Kobel after racing through and missed a great chance to score when he headed Sabitzer’s cross over the bar.
Werner was trying to get behind Augsburg’s defence without success, but then burst into the box which forced a crucial tackle from Danso. He headed a corner well wide before connecting with thin air on another headed opportunity following Kevin Kampl’s cross.
It wasn’t the Germany international’s day, failing to control Marcel Halstenberg’s cross and heading a weak effort at Kobel late on. Werner has been unable to find any rhythm with illness and injury hampering his start to 2019; this was a match to forget.
Job done for Augsburg
Augsburg had a number of players out with Jeffrey Gouweleeuw, Konstantinos Stafylidis, Dong-Won Ji, Alfred Finnbogason and Reece Oxford all missing which saw Georg Teigl and Fredrick Jensen get rare starts. Teigl had played just 96 minutes in the Bundesliga this season with Jensen registering 121 minutes.
Rani Khedira was responsible for a number of recent individual mistakes in recent matches but stepped up here with a confident performance. Kevin Danso produced a crucial challenge on Timo Werner and was arguably man of the match.
Goalkeeper Gregor Kobel backed up his performance against Dortmund with another strong showing here and looks to have a very bright future. Marco Richter came off the bench and was a bright spark, creating Augsburg’s best chance for Gregoritsch who was denied by Gulacsi.
Manuel Baum’s approach was clear with his players positioned behind the ball in an attempt to deny Leipzig space between their lines. Ultimately it worked, and the draw takes Augsburg three points clear from Stuttgart and one behind Schalke.
Leipzig v Augsburg – Lineups
Gulacsi – Halstenberg, Orban, Konate, Klostermann – Kampl, Adams (Bruma, 73′) – Laimer (Augustin, 81′), Sabitzer – Werner, Matheus Cunha (Forsberg, 58′)
Coach: Ralf Rangnick
Kobel – Max, Khedira, Danso, Schmid – Gregoritsch, Baier, Koo – F. Jensen (Janker, 83′), Cordova (Richter, 59′), Teigl
Coach: Manuel Baum
Matthew Marshall is a freelance football journalist. Born in Australia and living in Germany, he is sports mad but his passion is undoubtedly the beautiful game. Primarily covering the Bundesliga and the Portuguese national team, he follows all the major European domestic leagues intently alongside both UEFA club competitions. A member of the International Sports Press Association (AIPS). Follow Matthew Marshall on Twitter @noobzcorp