April 2018

RB Leipzig loses to Olympique Marseille in the Europa League quarter-finals

In the second leg against Marseille, Leipzig was defeated 5:2, having finished their European journey. Despite the victory in the first quarter-final and the advantage from the very first minutes, the Bundesliga’s team has failed to achieve the positive outcome of the match. Leipzig’s failures started with an own goal, making it even more complicated to fight against Olympique Marseille. The defending trio Konate, Ilsanker and Upamecano could not cope with pressure. Leipzig eventually became the last German team that left the tournament.

After the defeat in the match against Bayer 04 Leverkusen in the recent Bundesliga round, team’s manager Ralph Hasenhüttl made several changes right away: Orban, Bernardo, Forsberg, Werner, and Poulsen were benched. Augustin, Bruma, Demme, Konate, and Ilsanker featured in the starting line-up. At the same time, Marseille Rudi Garcia replaced Ocampos and Germain by Thauvin and Mitroglou.

The away team was off to a flying start and scored an early goal in the 2nd minute when Bruma, assisted by Augustin, notched a goal from the center of the penalty box. Marseille responded with offensive moves in the Leipzigers' half of the field. With the corner in the 6th minute, they managed to equalize. Mitroglou made an attempt to score, but the ball bounced from Ilsanker and crossed the goal line. The home team took the initiative in the match and managed to score in a few minutes. Leipzig’s goalkeeper Gulacsi turned the highball away as well as Thauvin’s shot on the rebound, but another followed-up shot from Sarr did not leave any chances for the goalkeeper (9’). Never there were scored three goals in the very beginning of the UEL matches. Marseille seemed to have another reason to celebrate when Payet drove the ball into the Leipzig’s net from long distance in the 17th minute. But the goal was disallowed through Mitroglou’s foul on Ilsanker.

In the first half, RB frequently possessed the ball, but could not get any scoring opportunities. In their turn, Garcia’s team adopted the set play: Payet shot off a corner kick and the ball landed in front of Thauvin, who made it 3:1 (38’).

After the break, the French club tried to force the advantage in order to secure their semi-final spot. Gulacsi struck down a few more shots from Mitroglou and Amavi. Leipzig braced up and carried out a successful attack. Masterly assisted by Keita, Augustin scored a goal (55’). Finally, the score was 3:2 meaning that the away team would reach the semi-finals.

The joy over the scored goal didn’t last long for the Bundesliga club. This time, Payet easily broke the rivals’ defense and scored to the left upper corner (60’). Sakai caped the scoring at the injury time having put it in the back of the empty net after Marseille’s counterattack (90’+4). The final score made 5:2 in favor of Marseille who reached the Europa League semi-finals.