What the papers say: 'Defences led the way'

The match reporters predominantly share the same view of the 1-0 defeat for Bayer 04 in Saturday night's top match at RB Leipzig: It was an intensive battle of attrition, mostly played in midfield.

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung focuses on the crucial man and moment of the match: "The evening got off to a moderate start for Christopher Nkunku. The RB Leipzig forward tried an early attempt on goal but his first effort went wide of the target (4'). The second missed by even more (41'). The third did not reach the goal but rebounded off Leverkusen defender Edmond Tapsoba. Nkunku did not allow himself to be discouraged. Instead, he hit the ball in the air and then Nkunku was able to celebrate. The Frenchman scored the only goal in this top match between RB Leipzig and Bayer Leverkusen with an excellent individual move. Nkunku's unsuccessful attempts on the opposition goal were symbolic of two teams who can play outstanding football but are currently not on top of their game.… Much of the action was in midfield where both sides clearly understood how to neutralise each other."

The report in the online edition of the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger also highlights the latter: Both teams showed a grim determination in their attempt to gain dominance in midfield. Nobody avoided putting in the running and nobody shunned a hard tackle. A lot of players run a high risk of injury in the first half. Though nobody was hurt. That was still good although referee Harm Osmers was keen to allow the game to flow with the result that emotions were almost out of control at the end of the first half."

Bild am Sonntag praises the reaction of the Werkself after the 1-0 defeat: "Leverkusen fought back after going behind but lacked the power for the equaliser due to the large number of players missing."

The online edition of the Kicker draws the following conclusion: In essence, it was not a bad game with both teams looking determined and playing at a very high tempo. RB put in greater effort and had more of the game but were as unable to reap the rewards as were the more cautious Bayer. On balance, it was a very physical clash where neither attack able to excel. The reason: Each of the defences led the way, which was no great surprise as the best defence in the league (RB) faced the second best (Bayer). As a result, there were few noteworthy chances."

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