RB Leipzig’s new sports director Max Eberl cheered on his surprise visit to the VIP stand, Timo Werner and Emil Forsberg silenced the euphoric fans in the atmospheric Celtic Park with their late goals. Thanks to the 2-0 (0-0) win over the Scottish champions, the cup winners once again have the best prospects of reaching the round of 16 in the Champions League.
Leipzig remained harmless offensively for a long time before the previously unfortunate Werner per head (75th) and substitute Forsberg (84th) were on the spot. After the 3-1 win in the first leg, the Saxons also won the second duel with Celtic. In the fight for second place, everything now boils down to a decision between Leipzig and Shakhtar Donetsk.
Eberl had traveled to Scotland at short notice and individually. The 49-year-old, who only officially takes up his post as the new sporting director on December 15, watched a game at his new club live on site for the first time since his move was announced. The former manager of Borussia Mönchengladbach sat in the first row of the VIP stand right next to managing director Oliver Mintzlaff. Pictures of Eberl having a cigarette break in front of the team hotel had already been circulating on the Internet during the day.
Compared to the 3-1 win in the first leg a week ago, Rose only made one change to the starting line-up: Instead of Kevin Kampl, Amadou Haidara played in central midfield. The storm trio André Silva, Werner and Christopher Nkunku were allowed to whirl up front again – but the home side had the first chance in the first minute through a header from Daizen Maeda.
After that, Leipzig acted more concentrated, they let the ball run long and pleasantly in their own ranks – but it wasn’t dangerous for a long time. The Scottish champions defended skillfully and compactly, there were hardly any spaces for RB. And when Werner pushed into the penalty area with speed and space, the national player shot the goal far too hastily, allowing the cautious German central defender Moritz Jenz to clear for Glasgow (21′).
That almost had its revenge: In the 27th minute, only a double luck with aluminum prevented the deficit when Matt O’Riley first hit the post and Greg Taylor then hit the crossbar. Celtic played more straightforward and focused than RB, which Rose didn’t like at all. From the sidelines, the coach urged his team to be more compact and calm. It was significant that the guests’ best chance in the first half came in the 45th minute and only after a one-off action by Nkunku.
After the change of sides, a more open exchange of blows developed. Werner, Nkunku and Silva traveled a lot, so they often found themselves in dangerous areas. The reward was Werner making it 1-0 after a cross from Silva. Celtic pushed for the equaliser, but quickly conceded the 0:2. Werner’s goal and the template were the answer to the criticism that had become louder and louder about the national striker in recent weeks.