RB Leipzig on Monday returned to third place in the Bundesliga with an entertaining 4-2 victory at Cologne.
Jhon Cordoba claimed the early advantage for the home side, but Leipzig scored four in 37 minutes, including Timo Werner’s 31st goal in all competitions, to climb back above Borussia Moenchengladbach and Bayer 04 Leverkusen in the hunt for a UEFA Champions League place.
“We wanted the three points, we succeeded, but it is annoying that we fell behind early and wasted a few chances,” Leipzig managing director Oliver Mintzlaff told broadcaster DAZN.
“We are back on course for the Champions League, which is our goal, but the pressure is great. Everyone has to go all in, be totally focused and focused,” he said.
Cologne coach Markus Gisdol made four changes from Wednesday last week’s loss at TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, starting Rafael Czichos in place of the suspended Sebastian Bournaauw, red-carded in the defeat.
Leipzig’s Julian Nagelsmann switched both his wingbacks from Wednesday last week’s draw with Hertha BSC as Angelino, on loan from English Premier League side Manchester City, and France youth international Nordi Mukiele started.
The hosts took the early lead as Cordoba poached his 10th home goal of the campaign.
Midfielder Elvis Rexhbecaj’s effort deflected onto the far post and the Colombian finished from the rebound after seven minutes.
The sides were level 13 minutes later when Patrik Schick headed home Angelino’s cross to start the flurry of goals.
Things went from bad to worse for Gisdol’s men four minutes later when Cordoba was forced off with an injury and replaced by Anthony Modeste.
Leipzig took the lead eight minutes from halftime when Christopher Nkunku claimed his first goal since January.
Austria midfielder Konrad Laimer played a clever ball into the penalty area and the former Paris Saint-Germain striker dinked his finish over the onrushing Timo Horn.
Leipzig went further ahead three minutes into the second half when Werner, who has been linked with a move to English Premier League leaders Liverpool, raced clear on a rapid counterattack and beat Horn with a side-footed finish.
Cologne hit back four minutes later when Leipzig failed to clear the ball outside their area and Modeste curled home a shot.
The visitors’ two-goal lead was re-established less than two minutes later when Spain midfielder Dani Olmo scored his first goal since joining in January with a curling shot from the edge of the penalty area.
Substitute Modeste seemed to have won the chance to reduce the advantage with 18 minutes left, but was denied a penalty by the video assistant referee after Lucas Klostermann’s tackle.
With two minutes remaining Modeste then wasted a one-on-one with Peter Gulasci and Nagelsmann’s Leipzig held on for the three points.
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