Schalke 04 – RB Leipzig: Flexible Leipzig Dismantle A Toothless Schalke Side (0-5)
Both teams initially struggled to string together a few passes, struggling to beat the good opposing press. After that phase, Leipzig went on to control the rest of the first half with strong possession play. With a lead in the pocket, Nagelsmann’s side opted for a more conservative approach in the second half to hit Schalke on the counter – with success.
Tactical analysis and match report by Jonas G.
RB Leipzig made their debut in the Champions League knockout stages a few days ago against Tottenham Hotspur and impressed in their 1-0 away win. To keep up with Bayern after their win over SC Paderborn on Friday evening, Leipzig needed to take all three points to stay close to the Champions and reduce the gap to one point again.
Manager Julian Nagelsmann trusted almost the same side that won midweek and made only one change – Dayot Upamecano, the only healthy center-back left in the squad, replaced Ethan Ampadu. Instead of the 3-4-2-1 formation, Leipzig set up in a 3-5-2 system with Christopher Nkunku and Marcel Sabitzer in central midfield and Timo Werner next to Patrik Schick up front.
While Leipzig is thinking about a possible Champions League quarter-final and Bundesliga championship, the sentiment has considerably worsened at Schalke. Leaving aside the cup win in overtime over Hertha BSC, David Wagner’s side managed to score only one single goal in the last four Bundesliga games, with FC Bayern, Hertha BSC, SC Paderborn and Mainz 05 as the opponents.
What looked like the usual 4-3-1-2 formation turned out to be a 5-2 . . .