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RB Leipzig 3-2 Real Madrid: Los Blancos made to wait on top spot after defeat
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Christopher Nkunku wheels off in celebration after his first-half strike against Real Madrid
Christopher Nkunku wheels off in celebration after his first-half strike against Real Madrid

Real Madrid missed the chance to progress as Champions League Group F winners after RB Leipzig closed on the knockout stages with a 3-2 home win over the European champions.

A memorable victory ensured Marco Rose's side will now advance on the final matchday if they avoid defeat at third-placed Shakhtar Donetsk, while Madrid – facing Celtic at home – will top the group if they match Leipzig's result.

Josko Gvardiol and Christopher Nkunku struck in the opening 18 minutes on Tuesday before Vinicius Junior reduced the deficit, but Madrid struggled without Federico Valverde, Luka Modric and Karim Benzema.

Madrid so often produced late drama in last season's European success, yet Rodrygo's penalty was not enough to rescue a result as Leipzig substitute Timo Werner had already stretched the home lead further.

An acrobatic Andre Silva flick from Dominik Szoboszlai's inswinging corner forced a smart Thibaut Courtois save after 13 minutes, only for the unmarked Gvardiol to head in the rebound.

Nkunku whipped wide when Courtois inexplicably raced out of his area, but the forward made amends shortly after as he smashed a left-footed effort in off the underside of the crossbar.

Rodrygo was thwarted by a fine Janis Blaswich stop, yet the Leipzig goalkeeper was powerless to stop Vinicius heading in Marco Asensio's right-wing centre to pull a goal back.

Vinicius spurned a glorious opportunity to equalise in the closing stages as he poked wide with just Blaswich to beat, and Werner made the winger pay as he tapped home Mohamed Simakan's drilled cross.

That goal meant Rodrygo's late strike from the penalty spot was a mere consolation after he was felled by Nkunku.

What does it mean? Leipzig click into gear against Los Blancos 

Rose's side opened their European campaign with back-to-back defeats but now again control their fate after picking up three straight Champions League wins for just the second time.

Madrid had not lost or even conceded in any of their previous four away games in the group stage, yet Leipzig were deserving winners.

Although Madrid will remain favourites to progress as group winners with a home clash against Celtic on the final matchday, their performance without Valverde, Modric and Benzema may provide cause for concern.

Silky Szoboszlai

Nkunku continues to draw interest from Europe's elite clubs and did his case no harm with another goal, but Szoboszlai also merited plaudits.

The Hungary international was a constant threat down the right-hand side, creating a game-high three chances as well as delivering the corner that led to the opening goal.

Vinicius left without support

In the absence of Ballon d'Or winner Benzema, Vinicius was largely left on his own to lead the Madrid attack.

The Brazil international attempted a game-high five shots, hitting the target with three of those, but one of his misses from inside the six-yard box at 2-1 proved costly.

Key Opta Facts

– RB Leipzig are the first German side to beat Real Madrid in the Champions League since Wolfsburg in the 2015-16 quarter final first leg, and the first German team to beat Madrid in the group stage of the competition since Borussia Dortmund in 2012-13.
– Despite this being their first defeat in this season's competition, Madrid have lost four Champions League matches in 2022, only losing more in a calendar year in 2001 (five).
– Madrid have found themselves 2-0 down after 18 minutes in two of their last eight Champions League games (also vs Man City in April), as many instances as in their previous 289 matches in the competition.

What's next?

Madrid return to LaLiga action at home to Girona on Sunday, while Leipzig host Bayer Leverkusen the day before in the Bundesliga.


Real MadridChampions LeagueRB Leipzig
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