Jürgen Klopp and Julian Nagelsmann put their artifacts to the test and measured the extent of the sophistication of the new German football school. Liverpool and Leipzig attacked each other relentlessly in a grueling tactical interlock that was resolved as matches are resolved when the board matches everything: the best soccer players won. Liverpool won.
With the cherry blossom, the decisive matches returned and the Champions League was played again. The great club tournament makes its way through the pandemic in empty stadiums, even in stadiums outside the participating teams, such as the Puskas Arena in Budapest. Leipzig and Liverpool went to meet there, two teams that represent the maximum expression of the new German school, summarized in a term that also encompasses the energetic spirit of this current: gegenpressing , pressure against pressure, or what in Spain is called pressure after loss. A coordinated whirlwind of transitions from attack to defense and from defense to attack whose aim is to dominate the adversary without interruption until he is drowned in his own terrain. When the two opponents practice it, this procedure produces frantic matches like the one that took place in front of the deserted stands of the Hungarian stadium. It was a race to subtract decision time from the opponent. A tactical skirmish that when it reached its peak favored the team that had the best footballers, who are not the most technical or the most elegant or the most fun but – this is inexorable – those who think faster. With both groups equal in pressure, the one with Thiago, Mané, Firmino and Salah prevailed.
RB LeipzigGulacsi, Nordi Mukiele (Willi Orban, min. 63), Lukas Klostermann, Dayotchandeou Upamecano, Tyler Adamadou, Tasidara Adams ( Yussuf Poulsen, min. 63), Kevin Kampl (Hwang Hee-Chan, min. 72), M. Sabitzer, Dani Olmo and NkunkuLiverpoolAlisson, Ozan Kabak, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Henderson, A. Robertson, Thiago (Oxlade-Chamberlain, min. 71), Wijnaldum, Curtis Jones, Mane, Roberto Firmino (Shaqiri, min. 71) and Salah (Neco Williams, min. 89) Goals0-1 min. 52: Salah. 0-2 min. 57: Mane. Referee Slavko Vincic Yellow cards Amadou Haidara (min. 4), Nordi Mukiele (min. 5), Nkunku (min. 51), Tasende (min. 64), Ozan Kabak (min. 67), Dani Olmo (min. 75) and Henderson ( min. 80)
Exhausted by the epidemic of injuries, stuck in a game crisis that consumes him in the Premier routine, Liverpool entered the game in a state of maximum tension. In the first attacks it prevailed by push rather than by order. When he took a breath and his lines loosened, Liverpool lost the spot and Thiago found himself too lonely amid the waves of opponents. It happened for ten minutes. Enough for the German team to make a display of what Nagelsmann does best: bring together forwards, midfielders and defenders in the midfield, so that they all move in sync to receive the ball in spaces open enough to reconnect with him. happens. Upamecano found Haidara free, the midfielder teamed up with Olmo between the lines, Olmo did the same with Sabitzer, and Sabitzer with Angeliño, who crossed for Olmo to head next to the post strain. If Alisson did not bring out a saving hand, the game would probably have gone according to a completely different plot. The Brazilian goalkeeper, author of gross errors in the English league in recent weeks, redeemed himself on the night of the Champions League.
Thanks to the help of Alisson, Liverpool went through the initial turbulence and, little by little, regained their poise. He came out of trouble with the surprising contribution of his second-hand centrals, the young Turk Kabak, and captain Henderson, a natural interior converted to defense to fill the void left by Fabinho, Gómez, Matip and Van Dijk. Between the two they took a step forward and managed to anticipate reducing spaces while Mané and Firmino joined the midfield to lend a hand, not only to pressure but to offer and support their teammates when they came out playing.
Recovered the ball, Liverpool began to erode the endurance capacity of the Leipzig players, who failed to arrive in time in their shots to steal the ball. As Leipzig weakened in its chain of vain efforts, Salah emerged as an increasingly perceptible threat. Taken to the limit of risk by the daring Upamecano, the defense that played home moved on the ledge. Alexander-Arnold revealed it with a frontal throw that caught Klostermann in the open. Salah overflowed it and his hand in hand with the goalkeeper was resolved with a spoon and a heroism of Gúlacsi.
Broken their pressure when they didn't have the ball, Leipzig began to miss passes when they did. A bad delivery from Sabitzer to Klostermann went to Salah, who stole, ran and — this time he did — struck down Gúlacsi. Game time was approaching and Liverpool smelled fear. A long ball from Jones, with no apparent danger, caused Mukiele's failed punt and Mané's blow. Attentive to the harassment of the central, the Senegalese went alone and defined before the departure of poor Gúlacsi.
The goals, separated by five minutes, settled the game and, probably, also closed the tie in the most predictable way. More or less matched tactical ingenuity, the best footballers won.