Champions League: Victory against Belgrade: Leipzig almost in the round of 16

RB Leipzig celebrated its landmark victory in the Champions League with routine celebrations.

Champions League: Victory against Belgrade: Leipzig almost in the round of 16

RB Leipzig celebrated its landmark victory in the Champions League with routine celebrations. Thanks to a dream goal from Xavi Simons, coach Marco Rose's team ultimately completed their compulsory task against Red Star Belgrade 3-1 (1-0) and can move into the round of 16 in just two weeks.

In front of 42,209 fans, national players David Raum (13th), Simons (59th) and Dani Olmo (84th) scored for the hosts on Wednesday evening, with Marko Stamenic (70th) scoring the next goal.

"We are overjoyed"

“Home win, 3-1, the second win in the Champions League, we are overjoyed and I am too today,” said Raum, who scored his first goal in the premier class. “Hard work, we made it a little difficult for ourselves,” analyzed teammate Yussuf Poulsen at DAZN. RB is second in Group G, further behind Manchester City, who won 3-1 at Young Boys Bern, and can complete the knockout phase with a win in the second leg in Belgrade in two weeks.

Belgrade's Israeli coach Barak Bakhar reported before the game that his wife and three children had to seek protection from attacks at home almost every day. During the game, the 44-year-old wore an Israeli flag as a pin on his right chest in his black suit. Bakhar expressly thanked the German Football Association and the clubs for their support.

The Serbian fans created a wonderful premier class atmosphere long before kick-off. 3,400 Red Star supporters took part in a fan march from the city center to the stadium; in the arena, far more than the 2,500 fans in the guest block were in the mood for the 13-time Serbian champion. Leipzig fans complained via X, formerly Twitter, that their block was full of opposing fans. However, the mood remained peaceful.

RB dominates game play

Leipzig had a clear preponderance on the pitch from the start. And that also led to the early lead. After successful counter-pressing, Simons served space and the German international scored his first goal in the Champions League, confirming the good form he has been in for weeks. Four minutes later, Leipzig had a double chance to score their second goal. First Yussuf Poulsen's shot failed, then Castello Lukeba's header was missed by Belgrade's strong goalkeeper Omri Glazer.

By halftime, Leipzig increased its possession of the ball to 70 percent, but did not create any further top chances. And the Serbs, for their part, became dangerous. Janis Blaswich (23rd) first saved against Mirko Ivanic and a few seconds later against Milan Rodic. Five minutes later, referee José María Sánchez pointed to the penalty spot; the Spaniard had seen a foul by Lukeba on Peter Olayinka. However, the video evidence clearly showed that the Leipzig player had played the ball.

Red Star with momentum from the break

Belgrade showed significantly more courage after the change and repeatedly found gaps in Leipzig's defensive line. However, the guests needed too much time to make decisions, so good ideas didn't create any opportunities. RB gave up some control of the game and initially tried a quick switching game.

However, a stroke of genius led to the preliminary decision. The already strong Simons came free from a good 20 meters and flicked the ball wonderfully into the corner. Even Glazer, who had been impeccable until then, was powerless. The goal calmed Leipzig's nerves and RB regained more control of the game. But Glazer continued to thwart the chances, including with a free kick from Openda (64') from the edge of the penalty area and a shot from Simons (67').

On the other side, Stamenic shortened the gap by converting a deflected shot from Aleksandar Dragovic. Belgrade gained hope - but Olmo provided Leipzig relief with a goal after a crossbar header from Christoph Baumgartner.