RB Leipzig – Match Report vs Atlético Madrid 13/08/2020

RB Leipzig reached the semi-finals for the first team in their club’s existence. Julian Nagelmann’s Leipzig beat Atlético 2-1 after a late goal from Tyler Adam’s, whose shot got deflected by Giménez. Spaniard Dani Olmo opened the score earlier for Leipzig in the 50th minute, followed by a goal from João Félix from the penalty spot.

In their match against Atlético Madrid Leipzig set up in a 4-2-3-1 formation which often transformed into something which looked like a 3-1-5-1 with left back Angeliño moving up as a left wing back and defensive midfier Lainer going wide as the right wing back, depending on Sabitzer’s positioning. Right back Klostermann would often stay back as the right sided centre back.

Ratings:

  • A1 – Very good, could play higher
  • A2 – Strong potential to play higher
  • B1 – Good, strong player at level
  • B2 – Potential to be strong player at level
  • C – Average for the level, re-watch
  • D – Below average in this match

Dayot Upamecano

Player profile:

  • Nationality: French
  • Age: 21
  • Date of birth: 27/10/1998
  • Current club: RB Leipzig
  • Career: VAFC (Y), Red Bull Salzburg, FC Liefering (L), RB Leipzig
  • Position: Centre Back
  • Preferred foot: Right

If people still had their doubts about the qualities of Dayot Upamecano, then those doubts should probably be gone after this match. The defender played an outstanding match and had absolutely no problems with Diego Costa and Alvaro Morata. Upamecano played as the central defender in Nagelmann’s 3-1-5-1.

Upamecano didn’t only stand out defensively, but also looked so composed with the ball at his feet against Atlético Madrid. In an earlier report on Upamecano he was a bit sluggish on the ball at times, but I didn’t see any of that this game. The 21-year old was very involved in the build-up play of Leipzig and looked composed with the ball, playing a lot of forward passes. He distributed the ball very well to both wings, playing some good passes. Upamecano wasn’t scared to dribble into the midfield either. He tooks some risks with that, but never tried to take on too many opponents. In possession Upamecano would mostly position himself just behind Klostermann and Halstenberg to always be able to receive the ball, but at times he would move a little forward to create more options for the other two centre backs.

Physically Upamecano also is a superb player. He is 6’1” tall and may not be the tallest centre back, but still managed to dominate in the air. Winning almost all of his aerial duels and also getting two big chances from a set pieces. He is very aggressive in his duels and was often stepping out of the back line and defending quite far up the pitch. The powerful defender won 92% of his defensive duels this game and only gave away a single foul. There was only one situation where Upamecano almost got in trouble, when Renan Lodi got a yellow card for diving in the box in the 62nd minute. Upamecano didn’t really do anything wrong in the end of it all, but the way he approached this duel was a bit awkward and uncoordinated.

Rating – A1

An outstanding performance by Upamecano. He was very composed on the ball and did very well defensively.

Dani Olmo

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Spanish
  • Age: 22
  • Date of Birth: 07/05/1998
  • Current Club: RB Leipzig
  • Career: Barcelona (Y), GNK Dinamo Zagreb, RB Leipzig
  • Position: Attacking Midfield
  • Secondary Position: Left Wing, Centre Midfield
  • Preferred foot: Right

Dani Olmo was worth his weight in gold for Leipzig scoring the opening goal in the 50th minute after a great build-up to it. The Spaniard played as the attacking midfielder for his team just behind striker Yussuf Poulsen. Olmo may have scored a very important goal this game, but didn’t play a very good game. He wasn’t on the ball that often and seemed to struggle a little with the small spaces that Atlético offered on their half. He didn’t roam a lot from his position, staying quite centrally, only going to the right side a couple of times.

Especially in the first half he worked quite hard pressing high up the pitch, recovering some balls, but also making quite a lot of fouls where he was too late with his tackles. Olmo would often position himself between the lines of Atlético Madrid, but his teammates skipped him a couple of times. He made a couple of errors on the ball, taking a bad first touch or taking a little too long to take a decision in the first half.

He also showed some glimpses of class of course, opening the play multiple times with some solid long balls to the opposite wing and also showed some good vision in the final third.

Rating – A2

Olmo only joined Leipzig in January and is adjusting very well, but he has to do more in the final third for his team in big matches like this.

Konrad Laimer

Player profile:

  • Nationality: Austrian
  • Age: 23
  • Date of Birth: 27/05/1997
  • Current Club: RB Leipzig
  • Career: Red Bull Salzburg, FC Liefering (L), RB Leipzig
  • Position: Defensive Midfielder
  • Secondary Position: Right Back
  • Preferred foot: Right

Konrad Laimer probably played the most interesting role for RB Leipzig this game. When Atlético Madrid was on the half of Leipzig Konrad Laimer would position himself as the right sided defensive midfielder next to Kevin Kampl, but in offense he would provide with on the right as the right wing back depending on how wide Marcel Sabitzer, who often dropped back when Atlético put pressure on Kevin Kampl, positioned himself. This system got Leipzig in danger a couple of times when Lodi would make an overlapping run and Sabitzer and Laimer where both not there to defend.

Laimer’s heatmap against Atlético Madrid

Of course this doesn’t really say anything about his performance. He seemed to be quite comfortable in both roles he played, but besides offering that width to his team, he didn’t do that well on the right. Laimer kept the ball well for his team most times, playing short passes at a high tempo, but his crossing was a bit too inconsistent this game as he overhit a couple of crosses.

Laimer obviously showed great work ethic and positioning defensively, cutting off a lot of passing lanes and intercepting quite some balls. Physically he lacked a little however. The 5’11” tall midfielder struggled a little for strength and was a little soft with his tackling at times.

Rating – B1

Christopher Nkunku

Player profile:

  • Nationality: French
  • Age: 22
  • Date of Birth: 14/11/1997
  • Current Club: RB Leipzig
  • Career: Paris Saint-Germain, RB Leipzig
  • Position: Centre Midfield
  • Secondary Position: Left Wing, Attacking Midfield, Right Wing
  • Preferred foot: Right

Christoper Nkunku is an incredibly versatile player and played as the left winger for Leipzig in their quarter final of the Champions League. Nkunku was sitting quite narrow mostly, with Angeliño making many overlapping runs on the left.

Offensively it wasn’t a very good game from the Frenchman, who lost the ball too many times. Nkunku had little space to work with on the left, often with two opponents in front of him, but never seemed to lose confidence throughout the game. He was good awareness of what is happening around him and displayed some good vision. Nkunku’s crossing wasn’t that good this game, but his corners created some danger at times. It was pretty clear that Nkunku has good technique. He has a good first touch and keeps the ball very close to him at all times when dribbling, using both of his feet to his advantage.

Still, Nkunku played an important role for his team, mainly by stopping Trippier from getting dangerous. Nkunku intercepted a lot of balls on the left side and did well giving him little space to work with before getting subbed off after 86 minutes.

Rating – B1

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