Champions League group stage recap: Leipzig find winning streak
Wednesday, 22 February 2023
Christopher Nkunku and André Silva led the charge as Leipzig recovered from a poor start to storm into the round of 16.
Article top media content
History suggested Leipzig only had a 22% chance of reaching the knockout stages after taking three points from their first three games, including back-to-back defeats to open the group stage.
The Matchday 3 success against Celtic proved to be the catalyst, though, as the goals, points and victories flowed freely from that juncture.
Campaign so far
Group F runners-up: W4 D0 L2 F13 A9
Top scorer: Christopher Nkunku (3)
06/09: Leipzig 1-4 Shakhtar (Simikan 57; Shved 16 58, Mudryk 76, Traoré 85)
14/09: Real Madrid 2-0 Leipzig (Valverde 80, Asensio 90+1)
05/10: Leipzig 3-1 Celtic (Nkunku 27, André Silva 64 77; Jota 47)
11/10: Celtic 0-2 Leipzig (Werner 74, Forsberg 84)
25/10: Leipzig 3-2 Real Madrid (Gvardiol 13, Nkunku 18, Werner 81; Vinícius Júnior 44, Rodrygo 90+3pen)
02/11: Shakhar 0-4 Leipzig (Nkunku 10, André Silva 50, Szoboszlai 62, Bondar og 68)
Campaign in ten words: With their backs to the wall, Leipzig win four times.
UEFA.com Leipzig reporter
Leipzig did not play bad football under Marco Rose's predecessor Domenico Tedesco, but they were a bit unlucky at times and had a habit of failing to push on. This has all changed now, and while Rose's first game in charge in Madrid looked like more of the same (good performance, no result), this changed drastically in the weeks that followed. Strong performances brought four wins in a row – their best ever run in the Champions League – and entry into the next round.
How do Leipzig play?
The biggest change Rose made was switching from a back three to a back four and a 4-2-2-1-1 set-up. The width is provided by pushing the full-backs up and wide, and Mohamed Simakan, a central defender by trade, has excelled at right-back. Rose has moved Nkunku into the hole behind André Silva, and those two attackers harmonise well, while Timo Werner and Dominik Szoboszlai drift inside to provide numerical superiority in the half-spaces.
Fantasy star performers
Mohamed Simakan – 46 points
Christopher Nkunku – 35 points
André Silva – 35 points
In: Daniel Ihendu*, Ørjan Nyland, Winners Osawe*
Out: Péter Gulácsi, Hugo Novoa
Clubs had until 24:00 CET on Thursday 2 February to register a maximum of three new eligible players prior to the knockout stage. Since 2018/19, it no longer matters whether those players have already played in the competition for another club, even for another club still in the competition.
- Leipzig have never been involved in a goalless draw in the Champions League, 36 matches and counting.
- The German side have tasted victory in their last four Champions League games – the first time they have won four consecutive matches in the competition in their history.
- Leipzig have scored two or more goals in eight of their last ten Champions League matches.