Bayern Munich loanee Chris Richards’ masterclass sinks RB Leipzig’s Meisterschale hopes as they get held to a goalless draw by Hoffenheim.

RB Leipzig’s hopes of a late push for the Bundesliga league title is on the verge of collapse as they played out a 0-0 draw with TSG Hoffenheim on Friday. It was a disappointing result that now puts Bayern Munich in an ideal position to potentially extend their lead to seven points, should they secure a win against Wolfsburg on Saturday.

Die Roten Bullen were the team in control for the most part of the game but struggled to penetrate a Hoffenheim defence that stood strong throughout the course of ninety minutes. Especially in the first half, Leipzig failed to create any real threat on goal, thanks in part to the absence of a proper number nine.

Julian Nagelsmann also made another questionable decision by taking Angelino off during the restart. Leipzig, nevertheless, failed to show the intensity in their game and were often denied by the heroic defensive line of Stefan Posch and on-loan Bayern youngster Chris Richards, who was arguably the best performer for the Sinsheim club.

However, Leipzig did push forward in numbers and looked threatening in the final ten minutes. They found their breakthrough in the final minute of injury time when Yussuf Poulsen netted from a corner. There was still room for late drama, as the goal was eventually ruled out by VAR as the replay showed that Poulsen had handled the ball, thus denying all three points for Nagelsmann’s men.

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Here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over the Leipzig players in this disappointing draw with Hoffenheim at the Red Bull Arena this evening.

Peter Gulacsi: 6/10

While Hoffenheim remained defensively strong throughout the course of the game, they never really managed to make an impact on the counter. They struggled even have a single shot on the target which means it was a quiet game for Peter Gulacsi in goal. He was not even greatly involved in Leipzig’s build-up play.

Ibrahima Konate: 7/10

Ibrahima Konate offered a couple of casual forward passes that were either intercepted or put pressure on his teammates. Aside from that, the youngster looked quite solid at the back, using his aggression and tenacity to neutralise potential counter-attacking opportunities for the away side.

Dayot Upamecano: 7.5/10

Returning from suspension, Dayot Upamecano had a faultless game in the defensive department. He was rock solid at the back, using his physicality to good effect. The Frenchman also read the game very well, making a number of crucial interceptions while winning a total of five aerial duels. Impressive as always.

Willi Orban: 6.5/10

Willi Orban was not as involved in the game as his defensive teammates, especially in possession. However, he did offer the leadership, aggression and support that helped Konate and Upamecano flourish at the heart of the Leipzig backline. Orban wasn’t much of a threat from set-pieces, though.

Nordi Mukiele: 6.5/10

Nordi Mukiele made some interesting runs across the wider areas of the pitch, often providing the width to the Leipzig attack. He even tried his luck by whipping in a couple of crosses and offered decent support going forward. Unfortunately, he was excellently defended by Ryan Sessegnon, especially in the second half.

Marcel Sabitzer: 8/10

Marcel Sabitzer was perhaps the only bright spot in an otherwise dire performance from RB Leipzig this evening. The Austrian international looked very determined on and off the ball, often looking to find teammates in an attacking position. He also tried to make things happen by himself, with one of his attempts on goal missing the target by inches.

Sabitzer’s long balls and switch-plays were quite accurate too, as it helped Leipzig probe the Hoffenheim backline. He was just a bit unfortunate to be lacking proper support.

Tyler Adams: 6.5/10

Tyler Adams had the best chance for Leipzig in this game, as he failed to meet a teasing cross from the left flank. In his defence, though, the cross was slightly flicked by Sessegnon, which changed the trajectory of the ball. Adams otherwise didn’t have the best of games, although he was a crucial part of RBL’s second line of press.

Angelino: 6/10

Angelino’s return to the starting lineup was a welcome sight for the RB Leipzig fans, especially after a long injury layoff. His performance, though – not so much.

Indeed, the Spaniard couldn’t really trouble Hoffenheim with his trademark crosses from the wider areas of the pitch. He also lacked the certain energy that has been prevalent this season, although very few could blame him, as he has recently returned to full fitness. The left-back, therefore, was subbed off at half-time.

Christopher Nkunku: 6.5/10

Christopher Nkunku had an off day in the final third, struggling to capitalise in possession and failing to offer any real spark in and around the penalty box. The Frenchman was mostly seen contesting loose balls, while he also lacked composure inside the penalty area, especially during the final phase of the game.

Dani Olmo: 5/10

It was a bad day at the office for Dani Olmo, who simply couldn’t influence the game despite his current run of form. He was, in fact, one of Leipzig’s least inspiring players in the final third and was deservedly taken off during the final phase of the game.

Emil Forsberg: 4/10

Nagelsmann’s decision to start with Emil Forsberg as the leader of the Leipzig attack did not pay off at all as the Swede offered nothing to the table going forward. His lack of physical and aerial prowess meant the home side couldn’t rely on crosses, which is why he was eventually subbed off at half-time.

Substitutes

Amadou Haidara: 6.5/10

Amadou Haidara replaced Angelino at the start of the second half. He initially had a slow start to the game but made some nice overlapping runs late on.

Kevin Kampl: 6/10

Kevin Kampl’s introduction at the start of the second half was a rather meaningless one as the former Dortmund star did not offer much to the table for Leipzig.

Alexander Sorloth: 6/10

Alexander Sorloth finally made his introduction around the hour-mark, offering the physical presence Leipzig were always needing in this game. The Norwegian, though, missed a huge chance to put his team in front.

Yussuf Poulsen: 6/10

Yussuf Poulsen replaced Forsberg in the 72nd minute, and did make an impact with his urgency to win back possession. However, the Dane was simply awful in possession, losing the ball multiple times. Also scored a late goal using his hand.

Marcel Halstenberg: N/A

A late replacement for Konate, Marcel Halstenberg delivered the accurate cross that found Poulsen for the late goal that was disallowed by the VAR. Did not play enough to warrant a rating though.

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