1-0, Ounas 52’. 1-1, Werner 61’. 1-2, Bruma 74’. 1-3, Werner 90+3’.
Napoli 1-3 RB Leipzig: Timo Werner brace earns famous victory

Napoli 1-3 RB Leipzig: Timo Werner brace earns famous victory

The German side stunned the Serie A leaders, who despite Adam Ounas giving them the lead have it all to do in the second leg.

James Rees

RB Leipzig recorded a memorable victory over Napoli, with Timo Werner scoring two goals in the 3-1 UEFA Europa League win.

After an entertaining, but goalless, first half, Adam Ounas had put the hosts ahead soon after the break, only for Werner to equalise soon after.

Bruma then put the German side ahead, before Werner punished the hosts in stoppage time as they looked to grab an equaliser.

First half fails to live up to expectations

This had the makings of a very entertaining tie, with the leaders of Serie A hosting one of the most entertaining Bundesliga teams of the past couple of years, both teams having dropped out of the UEFA Champions League. With their minds on league responsibilities, Napoli made five changes from their 4-1 victory over Lazio at the weekend, with Lorenzo Insigne amongst those dropping to the bench and Dries Mertens suspended. Marcel Sabitzer replaced Stefan Ilsanker in Leipzig’s only change from their victory over FC Augsburg.

The visitors, playing only their seventh European match, started well with a couple of half chances for Timo Werner, the first winning a corner from which he volleyed a shot, saved by Pepe Reina. They could have gone behind though when Dayot Upamecano gave the ball away to José Callejón. Neither he, Marko Rog or Marek Hamsik could punish it though, and Leipzig almost caught them on the counter, but Bruma’s shot was saved, just about, by Reina.

The chances kept coming in a lively opening 20 minutes. Yussuf Poulsen could only strike into the side netting after charging forward, waiting too long to shoot from a better angle. The best chance of the half for the hosts then came when Rog passed through to Callejón, however the striker for the evening had his shot sent wide by Leipzig goalkeeper Peter Gulácsi.

For all the openness of the match though, both sides were letting themselves down with their finishing, and the number of opportunities decreased as the game closed in on half-time. Piotr Zielinski did see an attempt deflect wide, whilst Bruma’s touch on a ball into the box only sent the ball wide, after a Naby Keïta shot had presented no trouble for Reina.



Leipzig recover from Ounas gaol to stun Serie A leaders

One of Leipzig’s better plays of the game came soon after the resumption. Luaks Klostermann did well to find Werner whose volley on his second touch went just over. A minute later though Napoli went ahead. Callejón supplied Ounas, who struck the ball low, past Gulácsi, for his first Napoli goal.

They were quickly put back under pressure though by the Germans, who took their game up a notch, with a display of quick passing leading to a shot for Poulsen, saved by Reina. Keïta then had a shot deflect out of Kalidou Koulibaly, with Werner getting another chance from the corner, heading over.

Maurizio Sarri brought on Allan to try to tighten things up, but less than a minute later the game was back level. A mistake by Amadou Diawara just outside his own box was pounced upon by Leipzig. Kevin Kampl crossed the ball in from the right, with Poulsen leaving it for Werner, who despite being surrounded by defenders was able to poke the ball home.

Leipzig were still dangerous but Napoli had a big chance to go back ahead. Callejón found substitute Insigne, off Konrad Laimer, however Gulácsi was right in front of him and made the save from the Italian’s shot. Then from a blistering break, it was Leipzig that went ahead. Poulsen did the hard work, charging into the box, before laying off to Bruma to give him an easy tap in.

The under-strength Napoli offered very little to get back into the game, with even Insigne not able to offer much threat, wasting the two chances that did come his way. Then in the final seconds of the three added minutes, Leipzig broke on the counter once more, with Forsberg marking his returning to action with a run through the middle, setting up Werner to fire in a third. Leipzig therefore recorded a famous European away win, although Sarri’s team selection and his side’s performance cleared showed their priorities lie elsewhere.