RB Leipzig punished ten man Union Berlin as they look to send a message out to their fellow title contenders with a 3-0 victory. A quiet first half saw few chances for either side, but the second half would prove to be anything but. An early Xavi Simons strike hurt Union and Kevin Volland, who took his anger out on Mohamed Simakan.
Volland’s resulting red card would enable Benjamin Šeško to deliver two daggers into Union hearts. It is a result that firmly puts Leipzig’s name back into title contention. While for Union, the result will frustrate Urs Fischer, who will need to look into drilling more discipline into his side.
Xavi Simons steps up for Leipzig
After the departure of Christopher Nkunku to Chelsea, many wondered whether Leipzig would be able to replace the Frenchman’s goalscoring antics. A player that enabled Die Roten Bullen to push onto success with vital goals in both back-to-back DFB-Pokal triumphs; Nkunku will go down in Leipzig history as the man who brought silverware to Saxony.
However, Leipzig are now after the Meisterschale. This means that they will need those who they have entrusted upon to step up to the plate and push the club forward. One such player, who has proven that he could fill in the shoes of Nkunku is new recruit Xavi Simons. The 19-year-old would dazzle for Die Roten Bullen last week at home to Stuttgart and he would continue his fine form in the capital.
A quiet first half would see very few chances for either side. But at the start of the second half, Simons would provide a piece of magic that the game desperately needed. His strike would nestle perfectly into the top corner to place Marco Rose’s side into the driving seat. Benjamin Šeško would add two late on, but without the teenager’s magic for a second week in a row, the complexion of the game could have looked very different.
Discipline could come back to haunt Union Berlin
For the second consecutive week, Union Berlin were sent down to ten men. However, while Brenden Aaronson would be dismissed for an unfortunately timed tackle resulting in a second yellow card against Darmstadt, Kevin Volland would see red; literally and emotionally. A needless lash out on Mohamed Simakan would eventually result in the Leipzig defender being substituted.
The moment of sheer madness from Volland proved to be significantly detrimental to Union Berlin. Xavi Simons would open the scoring early into the second half, but it did not mean that Union were out of the contest. One thing Die Eisernen have taught the footballing world is to never write them off.
However, once Volland was forced off the pitch, Union would all but collapse. Urs Fischer’s side never looked like finding a route back into the game and ended up chasing Leipzig shadows around on home turf. Undoubtedly, Union will put this defeat behind them, but it could come back to haunt them at the end of the season.
Leipzig have put their woes behind them
After a compelling victory against Bayern Munich in the DFL-Supercup to kickstart the season, Leipzig would be stunned on matchday one by a breathtaking Bayer Leverkusen side. However, with many beginning to question whether Marco Rose’s side were ready to challenge for the Meisterschale, Die Roten Bullen responded in emphatic style.
A general air of malaise shrouded their first half performance at home to Stuttgart last week, but Leipzig would come out of the break an inspired side. Hitting Die Roten for five, they simply blew Stuttgart out of the water, leading to all eyes being firmly fixed on today’s bout with Union Berlin.
Nevertheless, Leipzig proved they mean business in what has become the most trialling ground to visit in the Bundesliga. They are the first German side to taste victory on Union soil for over a year and they did it in style. A second half onslaught saw Simons and Šeško punish Urs Fischer’s side and it sent out a statement to the rest of the Bundesliga. Leipzig mean business, and if they can keep their youngsters in irresistible form, then it could be their year to dethrone Bayern Munich.
GGFN | Will Shopland