RB Leipzig 4-1 SC Freiburg: Hosts kick-start season with second half blitz

A scintillating second half display got RB Leipzig up and running for the new Bundesliga season as they beat SC Freiburg, who ended the game with ten men, 4-1.

Last season’s runners-up had looked a shadow of themselves in the first half, as Florian Niederlechner put Freiburg into the lead halfway through the first 45 minutes.

They wasted no time in turning the game around though after the break, with Timo Werner equalising. Willi Orban put them ahead before Werner got a second and Bruma’s stunning first goal ended the second half rout.

Niederlechner pounces on off-colour Leipzig

After losing their opening game to Schalke 04 last weekend, Leipzig made two changes with Konrad Laimer and an injured Yussuf Poulsen making way for Emil Forsberg and Jean-Kévin Augustin, who was making his first start. Marco Terrazzino came in for Tim Kleindienst for Freiburg from their goalless draw with Eintracht Frankfurt.

Freiburg surprisingly started on the front foot, coming closest to the lead when Niederlechner hit the side netting. Leipzig soon took control, especially through the liveliness of Augustin. Alexander Schwolow kept out his superb shot, after great control from the Frenchman. He remained the centre of most good things for Leipzig, having a penalty shout denied by VAR after a tussle with Marc-Oliver Kempf, before later going wide.

The rest of the team around him didn’t look quite themselves, although it still came from nowhere when Freiburg took the lead. Janik Haberer brought the ball forward to Terrazzino on the left, with his cross under Haberer finding Niederlechner to put the ball home.

Leipzig were the dominant side, but their attack just wasn’t clicking into place. A good ball from Naby Keïta presented another opportunity for Augstin, but his first time shot was straight at Schwolow. Werner meanwhile header over from a Forsberg cross and Marcel Sabitzer also struck into the arms of Schwolow. Freiburg’s best chance for a second fell to Terrazzino, with Péter Gulácsi saving his shot.

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Leipzig blow Freiburg away

Leipzig quickly found the perfect response to their mediocre first half display. Schwolow had to turn around a fierce Sabitzer strike, and that led to the equalising goal. Werner raced clear of any markers to meet Forsberg’s corner, glancing it over everyone and into the far post.

They kept up the intensity following that as well, playing more the way they expect to. Schwolow saved again from Sabitzer, before Augustin had a shot blocked and Werner shot just wide, Augustin this time turning the provider. That was the case again as he crossed in the ball a few moments later. Both centre-backs were forward – Dayot Upamecano couldn’t connect, but Orban could, having an open net to aim at after the cross took the ball past Schwolow.

The relentlessness of the home side’s onslaught went down a notch or two after that, as Freiburg regained some control at the back. Christian Streich brought on Nils Petersen to try to find a way back into the game, but within a minute they were further behind. Gulácsi’s goal kick was nodded on by Augustin to Werner, who raced through and slotting the ball through Schwolow to put the game further out of reach.

Augustin had impressed in his full debut, but he made way with 12 minutes to go for another new signing, Bruma. The Portuguese winger made an immediate impact. Marcel Halstenberg headed the ball down for him, Bruma let it bounce, and with his first touch in the game he strike on the half-volley an outstanding hit, curling high into the net and beating Schwolow all ends up.

It got worse moments later for Freiburg. Nicolas Höfler had been booked earlier in the half for a foul on Diego Demme, and just after the goal he went in on Forsberg far too late, landing an awful tackle on him. A second yellow was the least it deserved for him. The game was up in any case, and Leipzig eased off to see out their first win of the campaign.