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In Focus: Werner can repay Leip of faith by shining in Manchester
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Mitchell Fretton

Timo Werner did not make the impact he would have wanted during his time at Chelsea, despite lifting the Champions League with the West Londoners in 2021.

Since returning to RB Leipzig last summer, the German forward has scored 13 goals in 27 appearances in all competitions for the Bundesliga outfit.

Werner will be hoping to find his best form against Manchester City tonight, with the Champions League last-16 tie finely poised at 1-1 after the first leg.

Ahead of the clash at the Etihad, we take a look at the speedy striker in more detail.

Home is where the heart is

Werner spent four successful seasons at Leipzig before joining Chelsea in 2020, scoring 78 times in the Bundesliga and helping turn his side into title challengers.

But during two seasons in the Premier League, the Stuttgart academy graduate netted only 10 times from 56 appearances and did little to repay the reported £47.5million fee invested by the Blues.

The European success under Thomas Tuchel in the 2020-21 campaign masked Werner's poor performances in front of goal and it was evident that the 27-year-old was struggling to adapt to life in England.

But this did not prevent Leipzig from bringing their former hero back to Germany and he already looks back to his best in Saxony.

His link-up play with the likes of Christopher Nkunku and Dani Olmo has helped Marco Rose's men climb to third in the table, only seven points behind leaders Bayern Munich.

Having scored just two goals in the Champions League this season, Werner will be looking to carry his league form into Europe as he faces up against one of the favourites to win the competition.

Timo Werner has recaptured his best form for RB Leipzig
Timo Werner has recaptured his best form for RB Leipzig

Strength in attack

Werner thrives in almost any attacking position and has played as both a winger and central striker during his time in Germany and England.

Rose has often opted to play the finisher on the left of a 4-2-3-1 formation or as a second striker in a 4-2-2-2.

His speed and agility are his main strengths and it allows him to play on the last man and get in behind the defence if he times his runs well.

Although he squandered a large volume of chances in a Chelsea shirt, back in his homeland, Werner has rediscovered his scoring touch and has already surpassed his goals tally from last season.

Timo on top

Timo Werner has scored twice in the Champions League this season
Timo Werner has scored twice in the Champions League this season

Reflecting on his troubled spell at Stamford Bridge, Werner said before the first leg: "The biggest problem was he [Tuchel] put a striker like [Romelu] Lukaku in front of me after I won the Champions League by nearly playing every game.

"Romelu was a big striker and had to play after costing so much and I didn’t feel honoured enough.

"Maybe that was also a reason why I had ups and downs.

"In the end a manager likes some players more than others — it’s completely normal and you have to accept that."

In six outings against Pep Guardiola's men, Werner failed to score once.

For many reasons, he will have a point to prove on his return to English shores.

Onwards and upwards

Timo Werner will have to be at his best if RB Leipzig are to beat Manchester City
Timo Werner will have to be at his best if RB Leipzig are to beat Manchester City

Werner is proving his worth in a resurgent side and has put up significantly better numbers than his last campaign at Stamford Bridge.

In Germany's top flight, the Club World Cup winner has improved his shooting accuracy to 46.15% compared to the 35.56% he had at Chelsea.

Leipzig's No11 has already recorded more take-on completions and shots on target than he did in the entire 2021-22 campaign and is looking more lethal in the final third.

However, the versatile forward will need to put on a performance for the ages against City as Guardiola's quest for glory in Europe continues.

In front of an expectant crowd at the Etihad, Werner has the opportunity to deliver a telling blow to his former foes.


Champions LeagueRB Leipzig
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