RB Leipzig registered a famous 2-1 win over PSG in their group stage match. Leipzig took their revenge from PSG after the latter knocked Leipzig out in the semi finals of Champions League last season. Goals from Christopher Nkunku and Emil Forsberg cancelled out Angel Di Maria's first half goal.
Leipzig started the game with their default 3-4-2-1 with Dani Olmo as the striker but this swiftly turned into 3-4-3 with Emil Forsberg and Nkunku playing alongside him. The German side were under the pump in the opening minutes, with their famously stubborn high line constantly getting penetrated. This forced Leipzig to weather the storm and defend for the first 15-20 minutes. After surviving the initial onslaught from PSG, Leipzig slowly found their way back into the game.
With constant off the ball movements in the opponent third Leipzig created pockets of space and players were interchanging their positions especially the front three, it was difficult for PSG defenders to cope with them. Furthermore, after successfully retrieving the ball, players were pushing forward quickly and persistently attempting to try to catch PSG's defence off guard. But with this kind of perpetual dynamism it is difficult to play those accurate passes and this is the reason why it took a lot of time for Leipzig to translate this energy into something tangible.
Leipzig looked to form 3 man triangles on the flanks with Angelino, Forsberg, Sabitzer on the left and Mukiele, Nkunku and Haidara on the right side which was very effective at the end of first half. The pick of the bunch was Angelino who was the best player for Leipzig (72 Touches, 4 Key Passes, 5 Tackles, 2 Shots, 1 Interception, 3 Fouls). His positioning and crossing in the final third was the main factor in Leipzig getting those 2 goals.
Off the ball Nagelsmann decided to play with 5-3-2/5-2-3 depending on the positioning of the opposition full backs and how high they were pushing up. Leipzig themselves kept a very high line and whilst in theory Kean, Sarabia and Di Maria could have exploited it, this time the pace of Upamecano held firm and supported by the reliable Konate it became easy work for them as both of them constantly pressured PSG players into running out of play or forcing them to move back until other Leipzig players came back to help.
After the initial storm from PSG, Leipzig players were moving forward and cut down the link between PSG's midfield and their attack. At times Will Orban moved into the midfield from centre back to get that extra man advantage. It also provided that extra temptation to PSG defenders and Marquinhos to launch long balls into the path of Moise Kean (PSG hit 69 long balls). But Leipzig played a good offside trap which PSG players fell for quite often.
PSG in an unusually orthodox 4-3-3 formation, started the game on the front foot. With Leipzig playing a high back line it was initially quite easy for the likes of Kean, Sarabia and Di Maria to get behind the Leipzig defence which also resulted into a goal from Di Maria. Just like their semi final match in the August PSG heavily dominated the early proceedings but as the match progressed they were pushed on the back foot. It was as if Leipzig remembered that Neymar and Mbappe were absent and the lack of genuine quality and creativity (lest we forget the absence of conductor Verratti) meant that PSG players were provided with very less options when it came to short passing and had to resort to playing aimless long balls.
Moise Kean was PSG's best player along side Di Maria who was a constant threat to Leipzig. In the second half Tuchel changed the formation to 4-2-4 with Ander Herrera moving up to support their forwards in the quest of a 2nd goal but it backfired as they lost that numerical advantage in the midfield and suddenly found themselves losing the ball constantly in that area. After conceding the 2nd goal Tuchel tried to change the formation to 5-2-3 to get that width in the attack but the red card meant that they had to change the tactics again and by this stage it was clear that RB were in the ascendency.
PSG had to work a lot in this game to win back the ball. Possession stats may show both were equal but Leipzig's direct attack had more impact and PSG had to defend more. It could be seen that PSG lacked that pressing in the attacking third and let Leipzig control the game and move the ball around. in terms of attacking threat down the left, PSG were non existent in terms of their movement and the absence of Neymar and Mbappe down that channel was telling.
In terms of putting in a challenge, PSG continued their lackadaisical start to the campaign putting in only 18 tackles to Leipzig's 37 tackles. A particular weak point was Florenzi, who allowed 33.3% of shots to come down his side. His individual stats were also telling, making a measly two tackles and comprehensively losing the battle against the effervescent and productive Angelino.
After their disappointing performance against Manchester United last week and losing 1-0 to Borussia Monchengladbach (dropping to 3rd in the Bundesliga), Leipzig needed some sort of comeback. This victory means that they are now level with United in the group and have a 3 point gap over PSG which can come very handy in coming weeks especially with that -2 goal difference.
A loss against United and a loss against Leipzig as well means that PSG fall to 3rd position in the group. Just like United game this was another sloppy performance from them and it clearly showed how much they rely on Mbappe and Neymar against big teams (although they too need to up their game based on the showing against Tuanzebe & Co)..There is a lot of debate regarding whether or not Tuchel is the right man going forward for PSG but their last season's run in the competition suggests he should be given time as PSG are still very much favourites to go through to the Round of 16 - if they can only just pull their finger out.
RB Leipzig: P. Gulasci, I. Konate, D. Upamecano, W. Orban, N. Mukiele, C. Nkunku, M. Sabitzer, A. Haidara, Angelino, D. Olmo, E. Forsberg
PSG: Keylar Navas, L. Kurzawa, D. Pereira, P. Kimpembe, Marquinhos, A. Florenzi, I. Gueye, P. Sarabia, M. Kean, A. Herrera, A. Di Maria.