Fortuna Düsseldorf 1-3 RB Leipzig: Poulsen and Selke star in second half show

Two second half goals gave RB Leipzig a win at the Esprit Arena, after Oliver Fink had given Fortuna Düsseldorf a first half lead only for Yussuf Poulsen to equalise.

Fortuna Düsseldorf 1-3 RB Leipzig: Poulsen and Selke star in second half show
It was another important victory for Leipzig | Credit: Sportschau
Fortuna Düsseldorf
1 3
RB Leipzig
Fortuna Düsseldorf : Rensing; Schauerte (Koch, min. 62), Akpoguma, Haggui, Bellinghausen; Bodzek, Sobottka; Mavrias (Bolly, min. 66), Fink, Sararer; Đurđić (Pohjanpalo, min. 80).
RB Leipzig: Gulácsi; Klostermann, Orban, Compper, Halstenberg; Kaiser, Demme (Ilsanker, min. 40); Bruno (Selke, min. 46), Sabitzer (Teigl, min. 82), Forsberg; Poulsen.
SCORE: 1-0, min 15, Fink. 1-1, min. 45+1, Poulsen. 1-2, min. 48, Selke. 1-3, min. 73, Poulsen.
REFEREE: Christian Dingert (Rhineland-Palatinate) Booked: Demme (min. 21) Halstenberg (min. 28) Fink (min. 44) Sobottka (min. 47) Poulsen (min. 50)
INCIDENTS: 2. Bundesliga game between Fortuna Düsseldorf and RB Leipzig at the Esprit Arena.

Fortuna Düsseldorf edged ever closer towards the drop, as promotion chasing RB Leipzig eventually overcame die Flingeraner by three goals to one at the Esprit Arena on Monday night. 

Against all the odds, Friedheim Funkel's side took an early lead through Oliver Fink in what proved an efficient first half, in the most, from the home side. Yet their good work was un-done on the stroke of the half, as a lapse in concentration allowed Yussuf Poulsen in to chip home an equaliser.

An inspired Ralf Ragnick substitution, in Davie Selke, proved the spark to ignite the turn-around. The former Bremen striker, poking home minutes after entering the affair. The striker, who was set up by Poulsen, returned the favor with twenty minutes to go as he teed up the Dane to give Leipzig some breathing room. 

Die Roten Bullen, RB Leipzig, responding to SC Freiburg's weekend victory and once again pulling level with their Breisgau counterparts in the race for 2. Bundesliga promotion. However, Düsseldorf fail to take advantage of their game in hand on the teams below them and a relegation playoff remains a real possibility for the side that was playing in the Bundesliga only three years ago. 

Fortuna's good work un-done before the break

Willed on by their fans the hosts, Fortuna Düsseldorf, started on the front foot and pressured their Saxon opposites. It required an early Peter Gulácsi palm and the crossbar to prevent die Flingeraner from taking an early lead, from a Sercan Sararer effort after captain Adam Bodzek had led by example and robbed Massimo Bruno of the ball high up the pitch. Sararer, however was unable to beat the impervious figure of Gulácsi and still remains without a goal in Fortuna colours since his summer switch from VfB Stuttgart.

Despite some partial RB Leipzig pressure, Düsseldorf were rewarded for their good start and broke the deadlock with the game a little over fifteen minutes old. A lovely move rounded off by Oliver Fink, after Sararer had atoned for his previous miss in squaring a lofted Nikola Đurđić cross into the path of the unmarked Fink who bundled home. 

Ralf Ragnick's expensive ensemble had shown little within the opening exchanges to warrant their promotion push. They do however, in Emil Forsberg and Yussuf Poulsen, possess some of the best attacking talent in the division and are a constant threat towards opposition defences.

The Nordic duo took up the mantle themselves and both went close; Forsberg twisting and turning before seeing his effort blocked by Michael Rensing, whilst the 6ft 2" frame of the former Bayern Munich goalkeeper prevented Poulsen from latching onto a loose ball. 

In the meantime, die Flingeraner were presented a golden opportunity on the counter attack to double their lead yet neither Sararer, nor Đurđić, were composed enough to see their effort beat their man, let alone trouble the Hungarian RB Leipzig goalkeeper. Ragnick however saw it necessary to make a tactical change in response to the numerous unchecked Düsseldorf counter attacks, as Diego Demme was hauled off for Stefan Ilsanker.

On the stroke of half time, die Roten Bullen saw fruition for their early change. Forsberg fed Marcel Sabitzer down the right flank; the Austrian then looping a pass into the feet of Poulsen, who deftly chipped a helpless, advancing Rensing.

The first time Leipzig had been allowed space in either channel, after a superb display from both Fortuna fullbacks Axel Bellinghausen and Julian Schauarte - that work however eroded, as Bellinghausen found himself caught up the pitch. The Dane, Poulsen, had previously fired a warning shot over the Fortuna crossbar moments before his equaliser.

Sekle celebrates infront of the traveling fans | Credit: Getty Images
Sekle celebrates infront of the traveling fans | Credit: Getty Images

Fantastic forwards complete the turn-around

Leipzig had completed the turn-around moments after the restart and it was another inspired substitution by Ragnick that was the root of it, as Davie Selke entered the play. It was what die Roten Bullen had lacked all first half; a pin-point cross from his strike partner Poulsen, which Selke seized on at the front post and poked home infront of the traveling band of Leipzig supporters that had made the long journey. The much maligned former Werder Bremen striker silencing his critics for the time being, with his tenth goal of the season.

Any success Fortuna Düsseldorf enjoyed during the opening forty five minutes came due to energetic pressing of the ball high up the pitch. Much the same as Ragnick had preached all those years ago, in his time with SSV Ulm. Yet the early Leipzig goal drained all confidence from the relegation troubled side and the pressing ceased, and in all honesty die Roten Bullen were comfortable in their lead. Gulácsi without a notable save to make.

After a number of half chances, the promotion chasing RB Leipzig were finally able to convert a chance and extend their lead, giving themselves some breathing room for the remainder of the contest. This time Selke returning the favor, as his flicked header found Poulsen at the back post, who was the bravest as he nodded home when a collision with the post seemed certain. 

Poulsen's dogmatic play had caused problems for Karim Haggui and Kevin Akpoguma; the pair failing to deal with the Danish international's physical approach, which fashioned a number of chances throughout for the away side.

Despite a superb first half team performances, Düsseldorf's good work gone when switching off for a moment before the break and the lackluster second half that followed; that a team like Leipzig will always punish. The Esprit Arena side now flirting ever closer with the heartache of the relegation playoff spot, that the likes of 1860 Munich and Arminia Bielefeld have had to endure in recent years.