Marco Rose hugged his coaching colleague from Shakhtar Donetsk long and tight, Timo Werner was no longer on the pitch at that point. RB Leipzig has reached the round of 16 of the Champions League with a 4-0 (1-0) win against the Ukrainians, but the Saxons and national coach Hansi Flick now have to worry about the national soccer player. Three weeks before the World Cup in Qatar, Werner had been substituted early with an injury to his left ankle.
“It wasn’t an easy game. Hopefully Timo isn’t seriously injured,” said goalscorer Christopher Nkunku. Werner tried for a few more minutes after Taras Stepanenko’s foul, but limped into the Warsaw Stadion dressing room in the 19th minute with his head down. The severity of the injury was initially unclear. Werner complained of pain in his foot. More detailed examinations are to be carried out in the hospital in Leipzig on Thursday. Germany will play their first game of the World Cup on November 23 against Japan.
At the time Werner was substituted, Nkunku (10′) had already put Leipzig in the lead when he dusted off his fellow striker after a missed chance. André Silva (50th), Dominik Szoboszlai (62nd) and Dani Olmo (68th) scored the final score. As a result, Leipzig qualified for the round of 16 as second in Group F behind defending champions Real Madrid. It didn’t look like it after the start of the group phase with two defeats a month ago.
“We worked hard for this. We didn’t start well in the Champions League, we didn’t start well. Now we are in the round of 16,” said Emil Forsberg at DAZN. “We were there, we had a good grip, and of course that feels good, 4-0, round of 16.”
After nine unbeaten games in a row, one point was enough for Leipzig in the game that was relocated to Warsaw due to the Ukraine war. Before the game, there were unnecessary scenes at the entrance to the guest block. Leipzig fans criticized what they saw as tough admission controls, wrote on Twitter that women almost had to undress and minors “were touched intimately without cause”. The club confirmed this on Wednesday when asked by dpa. As a consequence, the active fan scene decided to dismantle the planned choreography. In addition, the fan banners were hung upside down as a sign of protest.
Nevertheless, there was verbal support – and the team acted spurred on by it. Leipzig started with pressure, Werner failed after eight minutes with a shot from an acute angle. Two minutes later, the international escaped again through the intersection of Donetsk’s back four. Goalkeeper Anatoly Trubin fended off his attempt, but right in front of Nkunku’s feet. He celebrated his third goal of the season in the premier class in an extremely creative way: Nkunku took a red balloon out of his neck, blew it up and let himself be celebrated with his arms stretched out to the side.
The Leipzig game got a break with the Werner substitution, Forsberg, who came for him, initially hardly set any offensive accents. But Donetsk had some dangerous scenes, but didn’t stay consistent enough in the end.
Silva showed the necessary consistency shortly after half-time. An imprecise cross from David Raum was headed by Mohamed Simakan as an arc lamp from the right side to the far post, where Silva stood and punished Trubin’s hesitant run out. Donetsk now needed three goals, which gave Leipzig room to counterattack.
Leipzig remained snappy and made the preliminary decision. Kevin Kampl captured the ball on the center line and quickly switched with a pass to Nkunku. The France international served Szoboszlai, who rounded and completed Trubin. Rose was now able to conserve energy with a view to Saturday’s game in Hoffenheim, taking Raum, Szoboszlai and Simakan off the field. And joker Dani Olmo scored with a magnificent flick just 26 seconds after coming on.