The perfect start to 2018! With a 3-1 win against FC Schalke 04 in front of 42,558 fans at the sold-out Red Bull Arena, RB Leipzig climbed to second in the Bundesliga.
It was an even game for much of the first half, as both teams played at a high intensity and restricted each other to long-distance strikes only. The best chance to take the lead fell to Jean-Kévin Augustin in the 38th minute, but the Frenchman was unable to beat Ralph Fährmann from the penalty spot.
But Fährmann was helpless to deny the opener just minutes later, when Naby Keita’s strike from outside the box took a deflection off Naldo and flew into the back of the net. Our first goal of 2018 and incidentally also our 600th competitive goal.
Die Roten Bullen almost doubled the lead early in the second half when Marcel Sabitzer’s freekick deflected onto the Schalke crossbar. Naldo made up for his role in the opener in the 55th minute when he headed the visitors level, but Hasenhüttl’s men hit back with a quickfire double from substitute Timo Werner and Bruma to complete a winning start to 2018.
• Marcel Sabitzer returned to the team after recovering from his shoulder injury.
• Konrad Laimer played his first competitive match at right back and bagged an exceptional assist for Timo Werner’s second-half goal.
• Naby Keita scored his third goal of the season, but also picked up a fifth yellow card.
• Timo Werner scored his ninth of the season, Bruma his second.
• The penalty miss was the first of five RBL spot kicks in the current season.
• Emil Forsberg and Marcel Halstenberg both missed out due to injury.