Werner hails near-perfect Leipzig performance in Madrid victory

By Sports Desk October 25, 2022

Timo Werner said RB Leipzig could not have played "much better than that" after defeating European champions Real Madrid to keep their Champions League fate in their control.

Werner scored what proved to be the winner in the second half, making it 3-1 after Vinicius Junior had pulled a goal back following first-half strikes from Josko Gvardiol and Christopher Nkunku.

Although Rodrygo netted a late penalty, becoming the youngest Madrid player to score from the spot in the Champions League, Leipzig earned a deserved victory to remain in the hunt for qualification.

Marco Rose's side will progress by avoiding defeat at third-placed Shakhtar Donetsk on the final matchday, and Werner hailed the efforts of his team against the reigning Spanish and European champions.

"I think we performed similar to the first match, but this time we scored! And once we take a lead, it's tough to play us, even for the Champions League winner," the striker said.

"If you lead Madrid by 2-1, you cannot play much better than that. We knew Madrid are strong on the ball and there would be phases where we are pushed back.

"Rose told us to be brave when in possession and that's what we did. Celtic would have done us a big favour by winning, but we still have achieved what we wanted.

"We have it in our own hands [to go through] and don't even need to win against Shakhtar now."

While Werner insisted the memorable victory showed the quality of Leipzig, David Alaba lamented the failings of Madrid, who were without the injured Federico Valverde, Luka Modric and Karim Benzema.

"We were lacking right from kick-off. Leipzig is a team with lots of intensity, very fast in transitions and we went down," the Los Blancos defender said.

"Of course, the players that were missing are very important for our game, real world-class players. Nevertheless, we have the quality to compensate for that and have shown that in the past. We have to do better than this."

Madrid were far from their usual high standards that guided them to domestic and continental glory as they fell to their fourth Champions League defeat in 2022, only in 2001 (five) have they lost more.

However, Carlo Ancelotti's side will still progress as Group F winners as long as they match RB Leipzig's result at Shakhtar Donetsk on the final matchday, when they host Celtic.

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