Chris Williams – BREMEN, GERMANY
Werder Bremen vs RB Leipzig – September, 21 – Bundesliga, Weser-Stadion
RB Leipzig recorded their first-ever victory in the Weser-Stadion as goals from Willi Orban, Marcel Sabitzer and Marcelo Saracchi helped the Saxony side climb back to the top of the Bundesliga.
It was an attritional first half overall – the hosts happy to allow Leipzig time and space to attack, under the premise that should a mistake be made, Werder would counter quickly – USMNT star, Josh Sargent the outlet.
The American had his first sight of goal on eight minutes, Davy Klaassen playing the 19-year-old in behind the Leipzig backline but Ibrahima Konaté was just too strong for the teenager to pass.
Moments after, Marcel Sabitzer broke down the right flank for the visitors and forced the first Leipzig corner of the game. Christopher Nkunku’s floated cross was met by Willi Orban – catching Theodor Gebre Selassie napping the RB captain guided the ball past Jiří Pavlenka – on the balance of play it was a deserved lead but for Bremen, it was their fifth goal conceded from a corner this season already.
The fixture had a bubbling undercurrent which started to boil over once the home side went behind. Konrad Laimer’s heavy challenge on Leonardo Bittencourt went unpunished by Tobias Stieler, Klaassen immediately flew at Nordi Mukiele. The Dutchman was accused of leading with his elbow, Stieler chose to use his diplomacy skills rather than his cards – it did little to quell the mood.
Florian Kohfeldt then witnessed his side fall further behind on 35 minutes thanks to a wonderfully executed free-kick from Sabitzer. The Austrian whipping the ball just out of Pavlenka’s reach and inside the righthand post.
With a two-goal cushion, Julian Nagelsmann could afford for his Leipzig side to begin to manage the remaining 45 minutes. Werder simply had to come out, which would play into the Saxony club’s strength of a fast break.
Florian Kohfeldt knew this, the Bremen boss very much sticking with his initial plan of allowing the visitors all of the ball they liked in a hope that just one positive move could be found.
Just as the visitors looked to be in a dominant position, Konrad Laimer picked up his second yellow of the evening. Adjudged to have handled deliberately – but on review, the decision looked a harsh one. The midfielder seemed to have been pushed into the path of the ball by Bittencourt.
It gave those inside the Weser-Stadion hope, and they frantically tried to raise the noise and tempo of the game. However, Leipzig remained strong, despite their numerical disadvantage and picked apart thir hosts one more time on the break.
Marcelo Saracchi making the result absolutely sure on 83 minutes, driving the ball into an empty net after an initial save by Pavlenka from Haidara.
Werder Bremen vs RB Leipzig – Three Stars
Marcel Sabitzer (RB Leipzig)
The Austrian has started the season well for the title challengers. A positive performance on matchday one in Berlin has been sustained. The 25-year-old now has two goals and three assists from his first five Bundesliga matches and looks a key part of Nagelsmann’s setup.
Leonardo Bittencourt (Werder Bremen)
On loan from TSG Hoffenheim, the midfielder was Werder’s main threat. Unfortunately for him, those around just weren’t on the same wavelength.
Dayot Upamecano (RB Leipzig)
The central defender continues to impress, his patrolling of the Leipzig backline was immense – reducing the hosts to little by the way of opportunity. A wonderful tackle inside the area on 74 minutes epitomized his display.
Werder Bremen vs RB Leipzig – GOALS: 0-1 (Orban, 13′), 0-2 (Sabitzer, 35′), 0-3 (Saracchi, 83′)
Leipzig’s club record continues as they top the table with 13 points from the opening five games. Julian Nagelsmann looks to have the ingredients to mount a serious challenge to both Bayern and Dortmund.
Werder Bremen vs RB Leipzig – Starting Lineups
Werder Bremen (3-5-2)
Pavlenka – C. Groß, Friedl, Gebre Selassie – Bittencourt, Klaassen, M. Eggestein (Bargfrede, 66′), J. Eggestein (Pizarro, 63′), Lang – Goller, Sargent (Ihorst, 80′)
RB Leipzig (3-5-2)
Gulacsi – Konaté, Upamecano, Orban – Klostermann, Laimer, Mukiele (Saracchi, 45′), Sabitzer, Nkunku (Demme, 74′) – Matheus Cunha (Haidara, 63′), Werner
Chris Williams is a freelance European football journalist. Covering the Bundesliga, Premier League and both of UEFA’s European club competitions. Published in both local and international publications, he also contributes to television and radio across the globe. A member of the UK’s Sports Journalist Association and the International Sports Press Association (AIPS). Follow Chris Williams on Twitter @Chris78Williams