The fans traveling from Germany to England bring with them a certain intent – the intent to back their team hard and encourage them until the end even if the team is playing for a losing cause. At the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, thousands of RB Leipzig fans packed the North-East corner of the ground. That corner turned red ad white. Noisy. Fierce. Partisan. They were encouraging a club, which barely existed ten years ago and featuring in their first-ever UEFA Champions League knockout game.

Embed from Getty Images

The game proceeded and Leipzig attacked – directly and elusively. The backline of Tottenham Hotspur looked fragile, but thanks to some outstanding keeping from Hugo Lloris did not let the deficit extend. The Spurs struggled as an attacking force for much of this uneven contest. Lucas Moura was ineffective against a side missing their three first-choice center-backs. Dele Alli played a more advanced role than usual but his main contribution was throwing a water bottle and one of his boots to the ground after being substituted in the 64th minute.

Leipzig, a point behind Bayern Munich at the top of the Bundesliga, were a class above and Julian Nagelsmann’s slick side should have had more to show for their efforts than a penalty from Timo Werner. In fact, Werner had been the best player on the pitch. Meanwhile, the Chelsea loan Ethan Ampadu was at another level. He helped Leipzig to build-up by breaking the mid-block of Spurs.

What makes Leipzig click is their 32-year coach, who is the face of the next generation – confident and smart. More often, the man is compared to Jurgen Klopp and his vision has always been to play as a unit rather than doing anything adventurous – an accumulation of individual ambitions transformed into a force and London experienced it.

RB Leipzig bagged the important away goal and for Jose Mourinho’s side to bounce back in Germany it would be a tough ask against Julian’s unit.

Meanwhile, at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, Valencia were taken to the cleaners by Atalanta, who, like RB Leipzig are playing their first-ever Champions League knockout match. While Valencia have a great history in this competition, Atalanta could be tagged as a novice. But at the end of the match, Atalanta dominated the pitch leaving Valencia stunned.

Gian Piero Gasperini’s side dominated from the outset against their LaLiga opponents and opened the scoring after 16 minutes, Hans Hateboer claiming his first goal in the competition with a close-range finish.

Josip Ilicic doubled their advantage shortly before the interval with a fine strike, before Remo Freuler curled home a third from long distance in the 57th minute. Hateboer then claimed a second five minutes later, and while Denis Cheryshev pulled a goal back for Valencia, but the damage had already been done.

The Spurs might have a chance to overcome the Leipzig threat in the second outing, but for Valencia, it would be an uphill task against a side, which has already shown how ruthless they could be.


But, RB Leipzig and Atalanta have created history. No big names. No great history to back them, still, they have conquered two of the most competitive sides in Europe. They have drawn the first blood and it would be interesting to see how far can they carry on their lively spirit.

Facebook Comments