Die Roten Bullen's Champions League journey came to an end on Wednesday after a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Besiktas. 42,558 spectators watched on at the sold-out RB-Arena as Leipzig dominated the game, but repeatedly failed to find a way past an inspired Besiktas goalkeeper. Porto's 5-2 win over Monaco in the other Group G finale meant that second place was out of reach anyway for Die Roten Bullen, but they remain in third place which suffices for a place in the UEFA Europa League round of 32.
The match got off to a bad start for the hosts, with Willi Orban penalised after his attempted block saw him slide into Lens and inadventerntly bring him to ground in the box. Alvaro Negredo converted the resulting spot-kick to hand Besiktas a 1-0 lead inside ten minutes. Die Roten Bullen had multiple chances to level the scores before the break, most notably when Orban hit the post, but failed to find a way past Tolga Zengin.
The second half didn't see a change in momentum, with RB Leipzig vs. Zengin very much the tale of the game. The Besiktas shot-stopper was on hand mutliple times to deny seemingly clear-cut goalscoring opportunities, but in the 87th minute he was at last beaten. Naby Keïta burst through the back line and slotted home, only to see Talisca restore the away side's lead in the final minute of normal time. RBL actually ended the match with ten men, after Stefan Ilsanker was shown a second yellow card in the 82nd minute.
Perhaps the most memorable moment of the game, however, was Dominik Kaiser's introduction with quarter of an hour to play. The midfielder's Champions League debut was also his 164th competitive appearance for RB Leipzig, a new club record!
While the Champions League journey may now be over for Die Roten Bullen though, Expedition Europa will go on, as Expedition Europa League. RBL will enter the round of 32 courtesy of their third-place finish in Group G. The draw will be held at UEFA headquarters in Nyon on Monday, 11th December.
- Ralph Hasenhüttl made four changes to the side from the weekend, with Willi Orban, Stefan Ilsanker, Bruma and Jean-Kévin Augustin coming into the team.
- Naby Keïta made his 50th competitive appearances for Die Roten Bullen.
- Dominik Kaiser came on for his Champions League debut to become RB Leipzig's record player, with 164 competitive appearances for the club.
- Stefan Ilsanker was sent off for two bookable offences and will miss the first leg of our Europa League last-32 tie.