RB Leipzig – Match Report vs TSG Hoffenheim 12/06/20

This is a guest piece from John Turnbull.

Julian Nagelsmann made his first return to his former club a winning one as his Leipzig side ran out 2-0 winners over a persevering Hoffenheim. Dani Olmo opened the scoring after 9 minutes and quickly followed up with another 2 minutes later, netting his 3rd goal of the season. It’s fair to say however, Leipzig’s lead came against the run of play as Hoffenheim started brightly in their 3-4-3 formation, and looked in control of the game when they had a penalty rescinded for a handball against promising midfielder Christoph Baumgartner. The away side grew into the game after scoring and began to assert a bit more dominance as they implemented their trademark high press. Leipzig began in a classic 4-4-2 which was ever changing between a 4-2-2-2 on defence and a 4-2-4 when moving up the pitch, with the key to Leipzig’s grip on the game deriving through Kevin Kampl dropping deep, picking up the ball, and driving through the midfield looking for space between the midfield and Hoffenheim’s back 3. The tempo dropped in the second half when Leipzig transformed into a 4-2-3-1 with Werner operating on the left, as they allowed Hoffenheim possession with the intent of trying to hit on the break. In the end, Leipzig finished strongly dictating the game and should’ve added a third.

Angeliño

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Spanish
  • Age: 23
  • Date of birth: 04/01/1997
  • Current club: RB Leipzig, on loan from Manchester City
  • Career: Manchester City, New York City FC (L), Girona (L), Majorca (L), NAC Breda (L), PSV, Manchester City, RB Leipzig (L)
  • Position: Left Back
  • Preferred foot: Left

The Spaniard played at left back in Leipzig’s back 4, although was often seen higher up the pitch occupying a left wingback role. It’s clear that his time with Guardiola and now Nagelsmann has been excellent in developing his attacking play, as Angeliño is very comfortable on the ball when Leipzig play out from the back. 

Angeliño showed great accuracy in his passing as he looked to link up with Olmo and Werner when attacking down the left wing. His blistering pace gave Leipzig another option when he overlapped Werner, however was unable to receive the ball and get crosses off as he so often does.

It was a relatively quiet game for Angeliño in terms of attacking contribution, however he worked well with fellow full back Nordi Mukiele, who both pushed forwards on the flanks and this generated space inside for the front 3.

Overall, the left back on loan from Man City had a solid game showing solid defensive awareness, and despite being only 5’9” defended strongly against Skov, refusing to let him cut inside onto his left. Angeliño’s only downfall is that he can be caught out of position as he bombs down the left flank. On this basis though, it is clear that Angeliño has great potential to be a strong left back for either Leipzig or Manchester City.

Rating – A2

Dani Olmo

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Spanish
  • Age: 22
  • Date of birth: 07/05/1998
  • Current club: RB Leipzig
  • Career: Dinamo Zagreb, RB Leipzig
  • Position: Attacking Midfield
  • Secondary position: Wing
  • Preferred foot: Right

Dani Olmo started on the left of midfield in Leipzig’s 4-4-2, however found himself in the middle more often than not as they shifted through a few formations throughout the game. The young Spanish playmaker scored the 1st goal in the 9th minute, finding himself on the penalty spot perfectly positioned for a cut back from Mukiele. He then grabbed the 2nd goal in the 11th minute, once again around the penalty spot and finished tidily from a Sabitzer header. 

Olmo fits Nagelmenn’s set up perfectly due to his versatile positional play, and although he can play on the left for Leipzig, it is evident that Olmo is very effective when playing through the middle as seen against Hoffenheim where he was hanging around the centre of the attacking third exploiting space on the edge of the penalty box. Leipzig’s attacking movement sees their attacking midfielders and forwards free roaming through the final third and this was shown with Olmo popping up on either wing as well as through the middle. Olmo displays a comfortable understanding of the game accompanied with great vision to find other teammates in space, and his excellent attacking positioning allowed him to grab both goals, taken well in tight spaces.

A natural flair is implemented in his game alongside other good dribbling qualities which helped him keep the ball well and take on defenders. Dani Olmo is developing well at Leipzig and is more than capable of playing well at this level.

Rating – A2

Timo Werner

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: German
  • Age: 24
  • Date of birth: 06/03/1996
  • Current club: RB Leipzig
  • Career: VfB Stuttgart, RB Leipzig
  • Position: Striker
  • Secondary position: Left Wing
  • Preferred foot: Right

Timo Werner lacked the cutting edge he all so often has and couldn’t add to his tally of 25 Bundesliga goals this season. Despite having very few touches, chances didn’t come short for Werner with a key 1v1 with the keeper blazed over the bar in the first half, not displaying his clinical instincts and intuitive finishing that has attracted interest from Chelsea and Liverpool. 

Whilst it wasn’t a great performance from Werner in front of goal, it is clear he has many attributes that allow him to excel at the top level. Werner has a sharp turn of foot and uses his breathtaking pace to penetrate spaces in behind as he looks to break the offside trap. Whilst running onto balls played in behind, Timo is also great at making runs off the ball, luring defenders away from the action and creating space for teammates. Schick and Olmo benefitted tremendously from this, with Werner’s strike partner having a few chances, and Dani Olmo netting both goals. 

It could be argued that Werner enjoys Youssef Poulsen’s company over Schick’s in regards to supporting him, however the German international can still link up play excellently with his teammates as he shows great awareness and passing ability. He exceeds at Leipzig due to his unselfishness and his determined work rate, always applying pressure on the defenders.

Rating – A1

Nordi Mukiele 

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: French
  • Age: 22
  • Date of birth: 01/11/1997
  • Current club: RB Leipzig
  • Career: Stade Laval, Montpellier, RB Leipzig
  • Position: Right Back
  • Secondary position: Centre Back
  • Preferred foot: Right

Despite Hoffenheim having a reasonable number of chances, the Leipzig defence enjoyed a fairly comfortable evening at the back, and this was mainly due to Nordi Mukiele’s powerful display at right back. The Frenchman looked slightly sloppy, as did Leipzig, in the first 10 minutes however soon grew into the game strongly and put on an assured performance. Mukiele defended set pieces and crosses very well, using his dominant presence to command the penalty box whilst giving no space down the left for Hoffenheim. 

It is no surprise how comfortable Mukiele is on the ball, playing the way Leipzig do, but his ability to step forward with the ball and drive effortlessly up the pitch is excellent. He is always looking for a forward pass into midfield or even towards Schick who can hold up the play. Similar to Angeliño on the left, Mukiele supports the play fantastically running down the line. Furthermore, his excellent reading of the game and defensive capabilities goes hand-in-hand as he steps out of the back to intercept passes which was often the catalyst for Leipzig’s counter attacks. Dribbling with the ball is a fine asset Mukiele possesses and he is able to work acutely with the ball in tight areas under pressure. 

Caught out of position on a few occasions, Mukiele was able to recover well and overall had a very impressive game defending on the right. He made 7 tackles and 5 clearances in what was a colossal performance with his ability to defend 1-on-1s particularly striking. Mukiele portrays great composure defending as he stands up well to attackers, doesn’t dive in, and times his tackles superbly.

Rating – A1

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