Yet another remarkable night in the history of this club! Despite going behind early in the second half, Die Roten Bullen ended up deserved 3-1 winners in the first leg of their UEFA Europa League last-32 tie against Serie A leaders SSC Napoli.
RBL made an impressive start in Italy, looking to dictate the play and control the possession against the favourites and fellow third-place finishers in the Champions League. Partners up front Timo Werner and Yussuf Poulsen both got close to Pepe Reina's goal in the first half, but the clear-cut chance never arrived. However, there was a case for a penalty dismissed by the Portguese referee after Konrad Laimer was brought to ground after releasing a shot.
A lack of goals in the first half would soon be made up for though, albeit with the first one going to the hosts. Adam Ounas wrapped up a Napoli counterattack in the 52nd minute to compound Leipzig frustrations at not finding the clinical edge at the other end, but the need to fight back ultimately provided that missing spark. Just nine minutes later, Kevin Kampl's ball into the box was brilliantly dummied by Poulsen, allowing Timo Werner to poke the ball home after some close control. The comeback was completed in the 74th minute. This time Poulsen ran onto Marcel Sabitzer's ball over the top of the defence, before squaring to Bruma for an easy finish. If a 2-1 scoreline wasn't already good enough, Emil Forsberg came off the bench to lead another breakaway charge in added time, with Werner finishing off his through ball to wrap up a sensational 3-1 victory!
Die Roten Bullen find themselves in a strong position for next week's second leg at the Red Bull Arena, with not only a two-goal cushion to defend, but also three away goals to their name. Another strong performance will be needed against the always dangerous Napoli on Thursday, 23rd February (19:00 CET), however, if Ralph Hasenhüttl's boys want to reach the Europa League round of 16.
- Ralph Hasenhüttl made just one change to the starting XI from the weekend's win over Augsburg, with Marcel Sabitzer having shaken off this cold to return to the right flank. That meant Kevin Kampl moved into the centre, with the suspended Stefan Ilsanker dropping out.
- Timo Werner was the scorer of RB Leipzig's first-ever UEFA Europa League goal. He has now scored at least one goa in four different club competitions this season.
- Emil Forsberg made his return after 75 days out with an abdominal injury, coming on in the 79th minute and setting up the third goal in added time.