Determined to continue their free-flowing goalscoring antics after hitting the back of the net on a staggering 16 occasions in competitive action this season prior to tonight, Young Boys boss Raphaël Wicky named his strongest XI possible to him as Filip Ugrinic, Meschak Elia and the in-form Cedric Itten made up a formidable-looking front-three for the hosts.
Meanwhile, Wicky’s managerial counterpart, Marco Rose, named an unchanged XI from RB Leipzig’s 3-0 weekend league victory over Augsburg, with all three goalscorers, Xavi Simons, Loïs Openda and David Raum, taking their place on the visitors’ opening team sheet.
YB: Racioppi; Janko, Camara, Benito, Amenda; Lauper, Niasse, Garcia; Ugrinic, Itten, Elia
RBL: Blaswich; Henrichs, Lukeba, Simakan, Raum, Kampl, Schlager, Simons, Forsberg, Openda, Poulsen
In the first-ever meeting between the two sides, RB Leipzig needed less than three minutes to get their 2023/24 UEFA Champions League campaign off to an authoritative start, as Mohamed Simakan made his way up from the back to glance home David Raum’s inswinging corner into the back of the net, via the chest of hosts’ goalkeeper Anthony Racioppi.
Already on the front foot, the visitors then came close to doubling their advantage 10 minutes later as on-loan Paris Saint-Germain attacking midfielder Xavi Simons fired inches wide of the post. However, it would be Young Boys who would get their names on the scoresheet next in the 33rd minute, despite Leipzig’s attacking stranglehold on the game, as Meschak Elia took one instinctive nudge of the ball on the edge of the penalty area before unleashing an unstoppable first-time effort into the corner past Janis Blaswich.
That would turn out to be the final opportunity in front of goal for either side before referee Enea Jorgji blew his whistle to conclude an enthralling opening 45 minutes in Bern.
Determined to continue their free-flowing goalscoring antics after hitting the back of the net on a staggering 16 occasions in competitive action this season, Leipzig were left enraged and somewhat bewildered by Jorgji after he nonchalantly waived away their appeals for a penalty, despite VAR’s eagle-eye involvement, after it appeared Racioppi brought down Xavi Simons.
Unbelievably, the Red Bulls again fell foul of the widely-experienced emotions of the beautiful game, as second-half substitute Benjamin Šeško saw his headed effort from another enticing delivery from Raum agonisingly ruled out for offside. Nonetheless, at the third time of asking, Leipzig eventually restored their lead in the 73rd minute as Xaver Schlager’s ambitious long-range effort took a fortuitous deflection in mid-flight before making its way past an outstretched Racioppi into the corner of the net.
Despite the introductions of several fresh faces from the home dugout, Leipzig put the result to bed in stoppage time as Šeško managed to get his name on the scoresheet at the second time of asking with a coolly-converted one-on-one finish past Racioppi to culminate a clinical counter-attacking move from inside their own half.
A well-deserved victory for Leipzig registered their maiden success over Swiss opponents, as Marco Rose’s side will now turn their attention back to Bundesliga action as they embark on their travels against Borussia Mönchengladbach on Saturday. Meanwhile, the defending Swiss Super League champions will look to regroup against Lugano on Sunday.