Justin Kluivert emerged as a star performer as RB Leipzig came back from behind to seal a 2-2 draw with VfL Wolfsburg on Sunday.
RB Leipzig poor run of form continued as they were held 2-2 by VfL Wolfsburg, in what was the last home game for Julian Nagelsmann as their manager. The result does ensure their place in the top two, but extended their winless run to three games in all competitions.
Coming on the back of a heartbreaking and demoralising 4-1 defeat to Borussia Dortmund in the DFB Cup final, RB Leipzig never found their footing in this game. They looked abject, to say the least, with Wolfsburg looking much more dangerous on the counter and even finding an early opener through Maximilian Philipp.
Die Roten Bullen never really managed to threaten their opposition in the final third. They were dealt with another blow when Philipp doubled his tally just before half-time, giving Wolfsburg an unassailable 2-0 lead at the break.
However, the game turned on its head in the second half, partly thanks to smart substitutions from Nagelsmann. The subs had a clear impact on the proceedings as Leipzig started dominating the game. They pulled one back in the 51st minute through Justin Kluivert before winning a rather controversial penalty in the 78th minute to level the scoreline.
Wolfsburg, after that, opted not to take any risks – playing for the draw and sealing a point that ensured Champions League football next season. Here, at the Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over the RB Leipzig players in their disappointing draw with the Wolves this weekend.
Peter Gulacsi: 6/10
Peter Gulacsi was completely beaten by Philipp’s stunning volleyed strike during the first phase of the game. It was not the best of nights again for the RB Leipzig goalkeeper, who is yet to produce any exceptional display in goal since signing a new contract with the club earlier this month.
🤩 Sailing into the back of the net! ⚽💥
🐺 Maximilian Philipp x @VfLWolfsburg_EN 🐺
— Bundesliga English (@Bundesliga_EN) May 16, 2021
Lukas Klostermann: 6.5/10
Lukas Klostermann had a difficult time dealing with the threat of Wolfsburg attackers, at times. However, the versatile defender recovered well, especially in the second half when he barely allowed the Wolves to cause any problems in the defensive third. Klostermann also made a few forays down the flanks, due to a lack of a proper right wing-back.
Ibrahima Konate: 5/10
Ibrahima Konate had a poor game at the heart of Leipzig’s three-man backline. The Frenchman looked nervous in possession and in defensive phases, especially when dealing with the threat of Philipp. Konate was eventually subbed off around the hour mark, in favour of Dayot Upamecano, but this performance is certainly not a good advert for interested parties like Liverpool.
Willi Orban: 7/10
Willi Orban was the pick of the Leipzig defenders in the win over Wolfsburg. Although the experienced centre-back did face problems dealing with Ridle Baku once or twice, he was largely solid. He also played a vital role in initiating counter-attacks from the back, eventually becoming a threat for Wolfsburg in the final third.
Konrad Laimer: 5/10
It was refreshing to see Konrad Laimer earning a start, after a long injury layoff. Unfortunately for him, he had to operate in an unnatural right-back position, where he struggled to influence the game. He was, in fact, one of the worst performers for Leipzig and was replaced at half-time.
Marcel Sabitzer: 7.5/10
Marcel Sabitzer made a poor start to the game, often looking sloppy in possession. However, the Austrian international eventually settled in as the game progressed, even becoming Leipzig’s creator-in-chief in the second half. Indeed, he crafted many goalscoring opportunities for his team, notably scoring the equaliser through a penalty in the 78th minute.
"To be 2-0 down at half time doesn't look very good, but in the second half we showed fight, threw everything in and earned the point. That was important."
— RB Leipzig English (@RBLeipzig_EN) May 16, 2021
Christopher Nkunku: 7/10
Christopher Nkunku tried his best to craft goalscoring opportunities for his side, making impressive movements while his link-up play caught the eye as well, especially in the second half. The Frenchman, though, would have loved to find the back of the net, but it was a good performance nonetheless. It will be interesting to see what kind of role Nkunku plays under new coach Jesse Marsch next season.
Emil Forsberg: 7/10
Emil Forsberg, much like his teammates, did not have the best first half, but he did manage to recover after the restart. The Swede, in fact, played a vital role in creating opportunities in the final third for Leipzig, notably managing three key passes. The playmaker, unfortunately, was not given much freedom in front of goal.
Benjamin Henrichs: 4/10
Benjamin Henrichs replaced Angelino at left wing-back and had a horrible time replacing the former Manchester City. The defender offered nothing to the game for RB Leipzig, other than rotating possession. Even his crosses did not cause many problems for the Wolfsburg defence, with the defender eventually getting subbed off at half-time.
Who am I to criticize RB Leipzig's exampelary transfer model but what was the thinking in the signing of Benjamin Henrichs? Average player at best. Some great football by Wolves, though. Both goals + Wout's chance were superb plays. Kudos to Glasner for keep improving the side.
— 🇪🇹 Eskender Tamrat ⚽️ (@eskeFussball) May 16, 2021
Yussuf Poulsen: 6/10
Yussuf Poulsen was given the nod ahead of Alexander Sorloth and Hee-chan Hwang in the number nine position by Nagelsmann. Unfortunately, the forward was dealt with the seemingly impossible task of besting the two defensive giants in Maxence Lacroix and John Anthony Brooks.
Justin Kluivert: 7.5/10
Justin Kluivert produced an excellent shift in the attacking role alongside Poulsen. His pace made a real difference for Leipzig in the second half, with the Dutchman even scoring his team’s first goal in style. An impressive talent who certainly deserves his contract to be signed permanently this summer.
Angelino replaced Henrichs at half-time, instantly making an impact with his technical prowess and crossing ability. Indeed, the full-back offered a lot of crosses for Poulsen in the box, although none of them really troubled Wolfsburg.
Amadou Haidara: 7.5/10
Amadou Haidara’s dynamism and willingness to win back possession for his team played a vital role in helping Leipzig come back into the game in the second half. The midfielder also won the penalty during the late stages of the game, putting his body on the line to earn a foul.
Dayot Upamecano: 6.5/10
Dayot Upamecano looked comfortable defensively after replacing Konate around the hour mark. He kept Wout Weghorst quiet during the remainder of the game.
Hee-chan Hwang: 6/10
Hwang did not make any real impact after coming on for Kluivert during the final phase of the game.
Kevin Kampl: N/A
A late replacement for Forsberg. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.