Peter Gulacsi

Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Spurs fall under nonstop pressure from RB Leipzig (video)

Leave a comment

Tottenham Hotspur’s quest to return to the UEFA Champions League final took a significant hit when Bundesliga title contenders RB Leipzig visited north London and left town with a 1-0 advantage in the round of 16 on Wednesday.

[ MORE: Man City CEO Ferran Soriano speaks out against FFP charges ]

Spurs began the game as poorly as a side can do without conceding a goal — or three — in the first 90 seconds of the game, and it didn’t get much better at any point after that. If not for Hugo Lloris making a pair of saves — with a massive assist from the post — inside the game’s first minute and a half, Jose Mourinho’s side would have found itself behind before they had a forward touch of the ball.

After surviving Leipzig’s opening onslaught and finding their footing, Spurs went close through Steven Bergwijn in the 8th minute. Giovani Lo Celso slipped the Dutchman into acres of space and Bergwijn cut back inside onto his right foot before uncorking a curling effort toward the far post. Peter Gulacsi went full-stretch and got a strong hand to the ball and pushed it around the post.

Lloris came up big again not long before halftime, in the 36th minute. Konrad Laimer was allowed to turn atop the penalty area and slide the ball wide left to Timo Werner for a right footed shot from the corner of the six-yard box.

[ MORE: Solskjaer admits Rashford’s season may be over, Euros in jeopardy ]

Spurs began the second half far better than they did the first. Two minutes into the period, Serge Aurier sent a low, bouncing ball into the box and forced Gulacsi to scramble to keep it out after Lucas Moura let it run on. The rebound fell to Bergwijn, who kept his follow-up effort low but pulled it well wide of target.

The breakthrough finall came in the 58th minute, after Ben Davies gave away a penalty kick with a wildly irresponsible challenge inside the box. Werner stepped up to the spot for Leipzig and beat the outstretched hand of Lloris.

Leipzig will host the second leg at Red Bull Arena on March 10.

German Cup: Bayern Munich complete double by beating Leipzig

AP Photo/Matthias Schrader
Leave a comment

BERLIN (AP) Captain Manuel Neuer returned from six weeks out injured to help Bayern Munich complete a domestic double after beating Leipzig 3-0 in the German Cup final on Saturday.

[ MORE: Valencia end Barcelona’s four-year hold on Copa del Rey ]

Robert Lewandowski scored twice and Kingsley Coman grabbed the other as Bayern claimed a record-extending 19th cup win to make up for the disappointment of losing last year’s final to Eintracht Frankfurt.

Bayern coach Niko Kovac, who was in charge of Frankfurt at the time, boosted his chances of keeping his job in Munich after bringing a successful end to what had been a testing season.

Neuer, who missed Bayern’s Bundesliga triumph the week before due to a calf injury, produced two stunning saves in either half when a goal for Leipzig might have been decisive.

Neuer somehow denied Yussuf Poulsen’s header from close range in the 11th minute, when the ball crashed back off the crossbar, and got the better of Emil Forsberg in a one-on-one after the break, when the Swedish midfielder should have equalized.

“You couldn’t write a better script,” Neuer said.

Lewandowski opened the scoring with a header in the 29th, Coman doubled the lead in the 78th after Forsberg’s miss, and Lewandowski wrapped it up with a chip over the goalkeeper in the 85th.

[ U-20 WORLD CUP: Ezequiel Barco’s golazo paces Argentina to big win ]

Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery went on late to make their last appearances for Bayern after 10 and 12 seasons respectively. Ribery became the only player to play in eight German Cup finals.

“They delivered a lot for the team and the club,” Lewandowski said. “We have to be grateful.”

Leipzig was appearing in its first, and had been hoping to celebrate the 10th anniversary of its founding date with a win. Thousands of fans made the relatively short journey from Saxony to cheer their side, though they found themselves outnumbered by Bayern fans at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium, which hosts German soccer’s showpiece every year.

“It’s a huge disappointment,” Leipzig chairman Oliver Mintzlaff said. “When you come here, you want to win.”

The supporters had been warming up for hours before the encounter, downing beers and singing songs at various locations in the city before making their way to the game. Fans who arrived on chartered buses lit barbeques and shared crates of beer by the side of the road.

Leipzig coach Ralf Rangnick, the sporting director who took charge of the team on an interim basis before Julian Nagelsmann arrives from Hoffenheim, started with his strongest team, with American Tyler Adams lining up beside Kevin Kampl in midfield.

Leipzig looked sharper, fresher and quicker at the start, but one lapse was all Lewandowski needed to open the scoring. David Alaba whipped the ball in toward the penalty spot, where Lewandowski had too much space to head inside the left post.

Coman displayed a fantastic first touch to control the ball past the helpless Peter Gulacsi for Bayern’s second, and Lewandowski ensured the result was emphatic when he claimed his competition-leading seventh goal. Lewandowski was booked for removing his shirt in the celebrations, but he accepted the yellow card with a smile.

“We worked hard for the whole season. In the end you could say it was a good season for us,” the Polish striker said.

WATCH: Gnabry’s loooong lob of RB Leipzig’s keeper

Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Serge Gnabry has his first two Hoffenheim goals, and one of them is an absolute stunner.

The ex-Arsenal man caught Peter Gulacsi off his line, and you can virtually see the spark in Gnabry’s eyes when he notices the opening.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Gnabry than sends a lob over the keeper, with the highlight made better by the Hungarian’s one-armed paw towards the goal line.

Gnabry has already faced two significant injury absences this season after scoring 11 goals last season for Werder Bremen.