Real Madrid vs. RB Leipzig 2022: Real Madrid found a way to win as they always do. Two late goals rescued the defending Champions League holders as they continued their perfect start to the 2022/23 season with a 2-0 win against RB Leipzig.
With maximum points after winning 3-0 at Celtic Park in Matchday 1, Real Madrid tops their group. They have now won all eight matches they have played on three different competitive fronts, including two in the Champions League, five in La Liga, and the UEFA Super Cup.
The match against RB Leipzig on Wednesday was difficult from the start, as RB Leipzig was organized and did not allow Real Madrid much room for attacking. Los Blancos never got into an attacking rhythm without injured captain and top scorer Karim Benzema.
Vinicius Jr. of Real Madrid rarely had a chance to stretch his legs in a full sprint, Rodrygo at center forward was unable to combine like Benzema does, and Luka Modric appealed for a penalty when he was barreled over from behind in the box.
In front of their home crowd, Real Madrid grew increasingly frustrated, listless, and passive.
On the other end of the field, the German club had a few chances to take the lead. Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and poor finishing prevented them from scoring.
The Leipzig danger man Christopher Nkunku was particularly active. He had one shot blocked, missed connecting on another cross into the six-yard box, and then went down in the box between two defenders seeking a penalty.
There was little improvement in Real Madrid’s second half and it appeared that they would lose points. Fede Valverde’s individual goal 10 minutes from time – using his weaker left foot – provided the breakthrough.
Despite playing their worst match of the season, Real Madrid substitute Marco Asensio sealed the result in stoppage time.
Real miss Benzema, as Rodrygo disappoints at striker
The typical position for Rodrygo is on the wing, usually in a wide right position, where he can sneak up to finish plays and run into the box at high speed.
In his role as Benzema’s replacement at center forward, he had to act as the catalyst and jumpstart the attack. In reality, his passing was off, and he was unable to create any meaningful danger with compatriot Vinicius.
RB Leipzig closed off passing lanes in the final third, but Real Madrid also showed their limitations without their captain, whose vision and dribbling create havoc. The replacements for him at center forward do not possess the same skill set. To be dangerous, Vinicius and Rodrygo need someone to play off them (Benzema), and they need to be running into space. In this day and age, that wasn’t easy. In recent weeks and days, Carlo Ancelotti has admitted that Benzema is simply irreplaceable.
Leipzig deserved better
RB Leipzig performed well in Marco Rose’s second match in charge, showing a clear response to the change of manager. As Real Madrid’s first Champions League home game since ousting Manchester City in last season’s semifinals, they showed personality from the opening whistle, taking the crowd out of the game.
Throughout the match, Leipzig looked the most likely to score, playing within themselves and playing within themselves. Chris Nkunku simply had an off day, but Timo Werner put in a strong shift and played provider on the day. As he demonstrated in the first half, the Frenchman was deadly when presented with chances last season. For him, it didn’t happen.
Controversy: Asensio, Modric penalty shout, & Bernabeu field
After the final whistle, the Spanish media will have plenty to chew over, regardless of whether Real Madrid won again. Without Real Madrid’s victory, the Luka Modric incident in the box, where he was clearly bumped from behind by a reckless Xaver Schlager, might have been labeled a scandal.
Another topic of discussion was the field conditions at the Bernabeu. During September’s international window, Cadena SER reports that the club will change its grass surface due to the rough surface contributing to attacking breakdowns.
Asensio, however, turned a Toni Kroos corner into his team’s second goal with exquisite technique, placing it first time into the net. A player with this kind of talent is likely to earn more minutes for the European champions, according to him.
A sub for Asensio with about 30 minutes left in the match against Mallorca proved the Bernabeu did not appreciate him expressing his frustrations. Asensio’s contract expires June 2023. After playing him only 17 minutes in the previous seven matches, Ancelotti might have found a way to push the right buttons with the 26-year-old Spain international.