André Silva was hearted by everyone after his two goals, his partner Timo Werner stood by with a hood over his head, laughing: while the national player remained pale when national coach Hansi Flick made a lightning visit, the Portuguese and offensive ace Christopher Nkunku ensured the first win of RB Leipzig in the Champions League.
The Frenchman Nkunku (27th minute) and Silva (64th/77th), courted by Chelsea FC, scored the goals in the 3-1 (1-0) win against Celtic Glasgow on Wednesday, giving the Saxons high hopes for the round of 16 to have. Jota (47th) scored for the Scottish football champions to equalize in the meantime. If Leipzig also manages to win in Glasgow in the second leg next Tuesday, the cup winners can advance on their own.
The victory in front of 45,228 fans had a bitter aftertaste, however, as Leipzig’s captain Peter Gulacsi tore his right anterior cruciate ligament. As the club announced on Wednesday evening, further investigations are to follow in the coming days. After just ten minutes, the goalkeeper’s exit shocked Leipzig. After a sloppy back pass from Werner, the Hungarian international had to save in dire need, but got stuck in the grass.
The 32-year-old immediately held his right knee with a pained face, the supervisors immediately indicated a substitution. Gulacsi was carried off the pitch to the accompaniment of chants, while Janis Blaswich made his first appearance in the Champions League at the age of 31. “It was important now that we got the first three points, that we played well, that we scored. We have to take that feeling with us,” said Blaswich afterwards and wished Gulacsi “all the best from the bottom of my heart.”
Nkunku circles the goalkeeper
“It really hurts with Pete,” said coach Marco Rose. “He’s the captain and has been a bank in Leipzig for years.” The team quickly digested the captain’s exit, Nkunku (18′) lobbed the lead after a counterattack – but the video evidence showed the Frenchman with a toe offside. Then the Scots, who combined quickly and directly, got better and had two great opportunities to take the lead within two minutes through goalscorer Kyogo Furuhashi (24/26).
Practically in return, André Silva sent Nkunku with a wonderful pass down the left side, who allegedly had a clear 24-year-old with Chelsea about a change, or curved around Celtic goalkeeper Joe Hart and scored the lead. Before half-time, Glasgow were also struck by injury, and captain Callum McGregor had to be substituted.
The Scots also put away that with a goal. After a mistake in Leipzig’s play structure, Furuhashi appeared in the penalty area, crossed Jota, who pushed the ball into the empty goal. From then on, there was a party atmosphere in the guest block, which was filled with 3,000 fans. Leipzig didn’t deliver a quick atmosphere killer, only Dominik Szoboszlai’s post hit (58th) startled the Scots. Just three minutes later, the Hungarian international did a much better job, scoring with a fine flick from the edge of the box. However, Silva was offside and took Hart’s view – no goal.
Shortly thereafter, however, Hart made a major bad pass. Szoboszlai picked up the ball, pushed it to Silva and the Portuguese scored to take the lead again. Leipzig now pushed for the preliminary decision, Silva (67th) narrowly missed out on Hart. For the hapless Werner, the working day was over shortly afterwards.
Emil Forsberg replaced the striker after 71 minutes. Werner remains in the Leipzig jersey in the Champions League without a home goal. Silva’s statistics are significantly better. The 26-year-old completed an outstanding combination via Nkunku and Mohamed Simakan with his second goal. The Glasgow block was now silent.