Football Features

Werner’s tireless efforts go unpaid as RB Leipzig snatch a point from the jaws of victory against Paderborn

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 16:51, 6 June 2020

RB Leipzig snatched a 1-1 draw from the jaws of victory against Paderborn in the Bundesliga on Saturday afternoon.

The hosts ended the game with 10 men after Dayot Upamecano saw red moments before the break, by which time Julian Nagelsmann’s men had gone in front through Patrik Schick.

A win against the league’s bottom side seemed to be on the cards despite a man disadvantage but Christian Strohdiek, a graduate of Paderborn’s academy, came up with a captain’s goal in stoppage time to inflict yet another poor home result on Leipzig.

Victory would have further strengthened their pursuit to secure another Champions League campaign next season as well as seeing them record five successive competitive wins — from five played — against a single side in professional football. A feat they’ve never managed before.

As for the visitors, this was a morale-boosting point and it gives them a small glimmer of hope in avoiding relegation.

All eyes on Werner

There’s no question Timo Werner is among Europe’s most wanted footballers and it’s fair to say he’s playing his final RB Leipzig matches. Heading into this weekend’s meeting with Paderborn, it emerged Premier League giants Chelsea agreed a deal to sign the incredibly-gifted German forward who had long been heavily linked with Liverpool. Werner, regardless of any transfer development, was always going to be the main attraction here.

He’s enjoying his most prolific Bundesliga campaign to date having registered 25 goals across 29 outings before matchday 30, which places him firmly in the hunt for this season’s golden boot with Robert Lewandowski of Bayern Munich and it didn’t take long for him to register a shot on goal, coming inside the opening five minutes. Another came soon after but he’d wait just before the half-hour mark before Leipzig’s breakthrough, in which he played a key role: teeing-up on-loan AS Roma marksman Schick to score in a third consecutive game.

No one in Germany’s top-flight this season has been involved in more goals than him. Even with Leipzig being a man light, Werner never stopped running, and was unlucky not to double his side’s lead after creating a chance for himself in the 67th minute. Chasing a long ball forward, he got there before Paderborn’s last line of defense, but unfortunately dragged his shot wide of goal, which ultimately proved costly. Nevertheless, that sequence of play typified what he is all about. In fact, no Leipzig player had more shots (4) or completed more take-ons (3) than him.

Old habits die hard

Paderborn were looking to bounce back after their humbling 6-1 loss against Borussia Dortmund last time out. Heading into last 18 minutes they were trailing 2-1, but a capitulation — that saw three goals conceded inside five minutes — undid all their hard work. Missing in action was defensive midfielder Klaus Gjasula, who had been serving a third game suspended this season, it came after he collected a 15th yellow card in the goalless draw at Augsburg.

That was a fifth consecutive appearance in which the Albania international saw his name go into the referee’s book. His longest streak of the campaign. It also meant he was on the cusp of matching an unwanted Bundesliga milestone and lo and behold, in the 21st minute, he was booked for persistent infringement meaning he equalled Tomasz Hajto’s record of 16 bookings in one season from the 1998/99 season.

Foreshadowing

Speaking of discipline. Nagelsmann isn’t a coach that rests on his laurels and is always seeking close to perfection. His side is the Bundesliga’s youngest team and with that comes a different way of coaching; but with grand ambitions, they need to grow up fast. Following their entertaining 4-2 win over FC Köln, which saw them come from a goal down, the wunderkind coach wasn’t pulling any punches. He singled out 21-year-old French centre-back Upamecano — who is reportedly being courted by a slew of Europe’s super clubs — for having a poor game, but stressing there’s room for improvement.

A week later, Upamecano still remained outside his manager’s good books, a poorly timed challenge saw him pick up the game’s first yellow card and three minutes before the break his game ended after kicking the ball away having been deemed to have committed another foul. His potential is incredible, you wouldn’t see the likes of AC Milan and Arsenal sniffing around if it wasn’t, but as Nagelsmann recently noted, to say he’s free of any weakness is short-sighted, pointing out that flaw — in some unfortunate way — came back to bite him a week later.

Can we play away?

Christian Strohdiek hadn’t scored in the Bundesliga this season until the 92nd minute of today’s game. It was a captain’s goal that would make any leader proud. As for Leipzig, it was a fourth consecutive home game without registering a win, five draws across their last six matches at the Red Bull Arena.

If we go even further, although they are unbeaten in 10 there are far too many stalemates for a club with big ambitions. Going back to Werner for a second, his last five league goals have come on the road, you have to go back to mid-January for his last home strike, a brace past Union Berlin.

Elsewhere in the Bundesliga on Saturday afternoon:

Eintracht Frankfurt 0-2 Mainz 05: Moussa Niakhaté and Pierre Kunde Malong scored either side of the break to hand Eintracht Frankfurt a first Bundesliga defeat in three as well as ending Mainz’s five-match winless streak as they seek to edge further away from the relegation zone.

Fortuna Düsseldorf 2-2 Hoffenheim: Hoffenheim, with ten men after Benjamin Hubner was shown a straight red in the ninth minute, were heading towards an unlikely win before Dusseldorf — who took the lead in the fifth minute via Rouwen Hennings — salvaged a point late on from the spot. Hennings’ doubling his efforts for the day. Steven Zuber would hand the visitors the lead after Munas Dabbur equalised.

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