The Battle for Europe, between the league’s third and fifth-placed teams, had an electric start when Alassane Plea put the ball in the back of the net after just 60 seconds, but the referee had rightly blown for offside. The match settled into an evenly-contested affair until the 15th minute, when Patrick Herrmann brought down Marcel Halstenberg in the box for a stonewall penalty; which the RBL full-back calmly converted to put the visitors in front.
Die Roten Bullen almost pounced again just minutes later, but Timo Werner’s disguised shot was blocked on the line by Tobias Strobl. Gladbach recovered and it was end-to-end action for the remainder of the opening half, albeit without many clear-cut chances.
Leipzig flew out the blocks in the second half and doubled the lead through Halstenberg, the German left back picking the ball up from Emil Forsberg and firing a low shot past Yann Sommer for his first ever career brace (53’).
But it wasn’t plain sailing from there, as Plea reduced RBL’s lead with a cool finish under pressure to give the hosts hope with half an hour left to play. At the other end, Werner failed to beat Sommer 1v1 to wrap the game up, leading to a nervy final stages. But Leipzig held on, thanks to some alert goalkeeping and heroic last-ditch defending, to secure a vital three points.