RB Leipzig's unforgettable Champions League adventure came to an end on 18th August at the Estádio da Luz in Lisbon with a defeat in the semi-finals against Paris Saint-Germain – back in the same place where the Bulls had kicked off their European campaign on 17th September 2019 with their opening group stage match against Benfica.
The team can be incredibly proud of what they've achieved this season, and set several records along the way. As winners of Group G, head coach Julian Nagelsmann's side advanced to the knockout stages of the competition for the very first time. Dominant performances against Tottenham Hotspur (Round of 16) and Atlético Madrid (quarterfinals) proved that Leipzig have what it takes to compete on Europe's biggest stage. The team are hungry for more and can hardly wait to make more memories in the competition once again in 2020/21.
Click on the headings above each of the sections below to re-read the match recaps to all our Champions League games this past season.
The group stage:
Our Champions League adventure began on 17th September, 2019, at the Estádio da Luz, the home of S.L. Benfica. The match remained deadlocked at the break, as the Primeira Liga champions kept the Bulls at bay during an intense and fast-paced first half.
During the second half, Marcel Sabitzer came close to scoring the winning goal on what was his 150th competitive appearance for RBL. Benfica also went on the attack, but it was Timo Werner who would score the opener from the edge of the box. Nine minutes later, Werner would nab his second of the match after tapping in a pass from Sabitzer. Benfica were able to get one back late, but Die Roten Bullen held out to claim their first Champions League victory in 2019/20.
After a two-year absence, we welcomed Champions League football back to the Red Bull Arena as Olympique Lyon came to town. However, the night did not go to plan for the Bulls, despite Timo Werner coming close early on. Shortly after, Memphis Depay would score the opener for the guests after capitalizing on a defensive error. Werner had an opportunity to equalise in the 23rd minute, but his shot sailed over the bar. Yussuf Poulsen then failed to find the back of the net following a rebound off another attempt from Werner (34'). Lyon would add another in the 65th minute and ran out as 2-0 winners.
Two weeks later, the Bulls were looking to make amends as they faced Zenit St. Petersburg on matchday 3 of the Champions League. Konrad Laimer tested Zenit goalkeeper Andrei Lunev with a shot from 25 metres out, but it was the guests who would then take an unexpected lead. Leipzig refused to back down, were the better team and came back to win the match in the second half. Laimer tucked away a neat finish following a pass from Marcel Sabitzer (49'). Ten minutes later, it was Sabitzer's time to shine, as the Austrian curled home a goal of the season contender from the edge of the box. Sabitzer's strike would later be voted the best goal of the Champions League group stage and definitely ranks as one of RBL's most stunning finishes in the competition.
Even without Timo Werner in the starting line up, head coach Julian Nagelsmann's side delivered another strong performance against Zenit. RBL had a goal disallowed by VAR, after an alleged handball in the build-up from Christopher Nkunku cancelled out Marcel Halstenberg's goal. But, the Bulls did not let off and Diego Demme went on to score the opener following a free-kick. It was also Demme's maiden Champions League goal. In the 63rd minute, Emil Forsberg split the defence with a pass and found Marcel Sabitzer, who scored to make it 2-0.
A late brace from Emil Forsberg helps secure us a spot in the round of 16. Leipzig had numerous chances to score during the first half, but lacked a finishing touch. Meanwhile, Benfica found the back of the net in both the 20th and 59th minute. In the dying minutes of the match, Forsberg cooly converted a penalty to put Leipzig back in contention. Forsberg would leave it late, but his goal in the sixth minute of added time saw the Bulls secure a deserved draw and sent the crowd at the Red Bull Arena wild. The point was enough to secure RB Leipzig a spot in the knockout stages of the competition.
RB Leipzig took a 2-0 lead into the break against Lyon in their final group stage match. Forsberg and Werner both converted from the spot to put the Bulls ahead, as the team managed to dictate the pace of the match. However, Lyon were able to claw one back shortly after the restart and found their way back into the game. Memphis Depay later equalised for Lyon, but it wasn't enough to knock Leipzig out of top spot in Group G (11 points).
The round of 16 against Tottenham Hotspur
RBL got off to a hot start in their first-leg round of 16 match against Tottenham, with Nordi Mukiele, Angelino and Timo Werner unlucky not to score inside the opening 90 seconds. Julian Nagelsmann's side were also solid on defence, with Péter Gulácsi coming up with a big save against Steven Bergwijn. Minutes later, Patrick Schick headed just wide of goal. Timo Werner would score the lone goal of the match from the spot in the 58th minute. Tottenham continued to pose a threat, but Gulácsi held fast to preserve his clean sheet. RBL returned from a successful trip to London with a 1-0 win, setting them up nicely for the return leg at the Red Bull Arena.
Driven on by a fantastic atmosphere inside the Red Bull Arena, RBL took the lead in the 8th minute through Marcel Sabitzer, who would go on to add another just over ten minutes later. Sabitzer recieved a standing ovation in the 86th minute, as he was replaced by Emil Forsberg. The Swede capped off a great night by making it 3-0 for the Bulls with his first touch of the match. What a night!
The Champions League tournament in LIsbon:
A sensational night for RBL was marked by a stand-out performance from Dayot Upamecano in the Bulls' opening match of the Champions League tournament in Lisbon. A 2-1 victory against Atlético Madrid saw Leipzig advance to the semi-finals of the competition. Marcel Halstenberg and Upamecano put in the hard work up front during the opening half, with Dani Olmo and Tyler Adams getting the job done for the Bulls in the second half. Marcel Sabitzer found Olmo, who headed home the opener in the 50th minute. It was Olmo's maiden Champions League goal for RBL, on his first appearance in the competition for the team. Madrid's João Félix later equalised from the spot, as both sides fought to leave the pitch as winners. In the 88th minute, it was Tyler Adams who would be the hero for the Bulls, as his shot was deflected in. Our Champions League journey continued, with RBL advancing to the final four of the competition.
Paris Saint-Germain were the stronger side from the start, with Marquinhos heading home the opener following a free-kick in the 13th minute. Yussuf Poulsen nearly equalised with a first-time shot in the 25th minute. However, PSG would go on to add another after a clever assist from Neymar to set up Ángel di Maria before half time. RBL were looking to reduce the deficit after the break, but instead it was PSG who would further add to their lead through Juan Bernat. Despite the defeat, we can hold our heads high and be incredibly proud of what we've achieved.