American midfielder Tyler Adams scored in the 88th minute to give Leipzig a 2-1 win over Atletico Madrid on Thursday and send the German club to its first Champions League semifinal.
Adams came off the bench in the second half and scored with a shot from outside the area that deflected off a defender, ensuring that Leipzig's surprising European run will continue into the last four.
It was Adams' first goal for the club, which he joined last year.
"When I came on I wanted to bring energy and help the team in any way possible," Adams said. "Getting your first goal is a little bit unexpected for me. I'm not a typical goal scorer but I'm happy I could help the team."
Dani Olmo had opened the scoring for Leipzig in the 51st and Joao Felix equalized for Atletico from the penalty spot in the 71st.
Leipzig, founded 11 years ago with investment by Red Bull, will face Paris Saint-Germain in the semi-final next week, with the final to take place on August 23, in only their second ever year competing in the Champions League.
Neither team created many significant chances but Leipzig threatened the most with its quick passing and player movement up front.
Some of that fast action in front of the area led to Olmo's close-range header after a cross from the right side.
Atletico improved after Portuguese forward Joao Felix came off the bench in the second half, and he equalized from the penalty spot after being fouled inside the area.
Atletico seemed in control after equalizing but couldn't stop the late breakaway that ended the team's title hopes again.
Adams, who entered the match in the 72nd, picked up a pass from the left side and sent a low right-footed shot that deflected off Atletico defender Stefan Savic and took goalkeeper Jan Oblak out of action.
A Twitter thread of tactical analysis
I shall leave you with some tactical thoughts on the game, published on Twitter. Enjoy!
Brief Twitter summary of what I saw live:— JJ Bull (@jj_bull) August 13, 2020
1. RBL's shape was a diamond for buildup. 3 CBs beats 2 strikers, 1 midfielder as anchor.
The midfield played between ATL's defence and midfield (constant movement) to outnumber, press and offer passes. Difficult to deal with for ATL pic.twitter.com/pgHNd7Nmfo
Full time facts
RB Leipzig are the first German side outside of Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund to reach the semi finals of the UEFA Champions League since Schalke in 2010/11.
Atlético Madrid have failed to progress against a German side in the Champions League knockout stages for the first time ever, getting through on all previous three occasions (v Bayer Leverkusen twice and Bayern Munich once).
Atlético Madrid have scored in each of their last 19 games in all competitions, last enjoying a longer scoring run in 2012 (24 games).
RB Leipzig’s Dani Olmo is the first Spaniard to score against Atlético Madrid in the Champions League since Míchel netted for FK Qarabag in October 2017.
Marcel Sabitzer registered his 26th goal involvement in all competitions for RB Leipzig this season (16 goals, 10 assists), eight more than any other player currently with the German club.
Tyler Adams' strike was his first ever goal for RB Leipzig in what was his 28th appearance in all competitions for the club.
Atlético Madrid’s Kieran Trippier became just the fourth different English player to start a Champions League quarter-final with a non-English club (also David Beckham with Real Madrid and PSG, Owen Hargreaves with Bayern Munich and Steven McManaman with Real Madrid).
LEIPZIG HAVE DONE IT! One final push isn't enough for Simeone's men and Atletico crash out of the tournament! Attack beats defence, Nagelsmann will take on Tuchel in the semi-final. Brilliant game.
90 mins+5 - RB Leipzig 2 Atletico 1
The Leipzig goalkeeper comes off his line to punch a free-kick away but a defender gets there first! The goalkeeper is lost at sea, there are bodies floating everywhere around him... but the defence are able to get it clear. Atletico launching the ball forward now, just trying to make something - anything - happen in the penalty area.
90 mins+3 - RB Leipzig 2 Atletico 1
Atletico are now scurrying around, harassing anyone with the ball to win it back, rushing throw-ins, sprinting to take their set pieces. Time is running out!
90 mins - RB Leipzig 2 Atletico 1
Simeone is being questioned by the BT Sport commentary team for reverting to his defensive 4-4-2 shape, almost as if it hasn't worked absolute wonders for nearly 10 years and would have them level were it not for that deflection taking the ball past Oblak.
LEIPZIG HAVE TAKEN THE LEAD!!!!!
What a hit! Leipzig with more of their superb buildup, players in space and movement off the ball dragging defenders all over the place, freeing up Adams on the edge of the box to take a punt at goal. His shot takes a deflection and goes past Oblak!
87 mins - RB Leipzig 1 Atletico 1
Haidara is booked for his first tackle of the game, not helped by another Atletico player falling to the ground as though mauled by a tiger, SCREAMING in pain for about five seconds before suddenly being fine. I don't want to go for a beer with any of these lads. Such unsporting play.
85 mins - RB Leipzig 1 Atletico 1
Upemacano has been brilliant tonight. He heads away a dangerous cross inside his own six yard box, Leipzig try to attack quickly but find Atletico defending deep near their box.
82 mins - RB Leipzig 1 Atletico 1
Kampl is booked for tugging a shirt and preventing an Atletico breakaway. Olmo and Nkunku off, Schick and Haidara on.
79 mins - RB Leipzig 1 Atletico 1
Atletico have the ball in the final third, work a corner short, Carrasco takes on his man and bends a shot to the far corner but only wins another corner.
76 mins - RB Leipzig 1 Atletico 1
Atletico are growing into this game. Leipzig might be a little rattled by that equalising goal.
73 mins - RB Leipzig 1 Atletico 1
Now then. Will Atletico stick with their 4-4-2 diamond, or revert to a tighter flat 4-4-2? As in a 4-4-2 with two sixes. They've got a bit of momentum at the moment but it would be very un-Simeone to try and ride it.
Costa goes off for Morata.
JOAO FELIX BURIES HIS PENALTY!
Felix runs with the ball through the middle, the defence are panicked and a lunging slide tackle brings him down inside the area. Huge chance to level the game. Felix is taking it too.
69 mins - RB Leipzig 1 Atletico 0
Felix is magic. He drifts into a wide left area, nutmegs a defender, fires an early pass into Carrasco and that very nearly becomes a decent scoring change.
Leipzig move up the other end and have a man spare on the right wing! But he tries to chip the goalkeeper... or cross? I'm not sure which. Either way, the ball is out for a goal kick.
66 mins - RB Leipzig 1 Atletico 0
This is a cool stat I've just found on Opta:
- Kieran Trippier is just the fourth different English player to start a Champions League quarter-final with a non-English club (also David Beckham with Real Madrid and PSG, Owen Hargreaves with Bayern Munich and Steve McManaman with Real Madrid).
66 mins - RB Leipzig 1 Atletico 0
Nkunku goes down in his own area during an Atletico corner and wins his side a free-kick. Atletico are pressing high to try and disrupt the Leipzig build-up play from the back.
Atletico are effectively now both a defence and an attack with no in-between.
63 mins - RB Leipzig 1 Atletico 0
Lodi runs in behind the defence, gets by Upemacano and goes down in the area! The referee blows his whistle... it's a penalty! Wait... no it's not. The referee is straight over to book the left-back for diving. Boooooooo. Booooooo for diving.
60 mins - RB Leipzig 1 Atletico 0
Leipzig enjoying 60 per cent of the possession in this game, and around 70+ in this half so far. Atletico have sent Joao Felix on behind the strikers so it's more of a diamond midfield.
57 mins - RB Leipzig 1 Atletico 0
McManaman is still convinced that Atletico need to, and will, "change drastically" to get back into this game. They don't and they won't. Leipzig aren't in control of this one yet - their tactical setup has really given them a massive advantage but it's a brave one and could easily go wrong.
54 mins - RB Leipzig 1 Atletico 0
I'm intrigued now to see what Leipzig do now that they have the lead. The natural response from Atletico might be to open up and attack a bit more... but I'm not sure that's what'll happen. It might be that Leipzig get nervous and naturally drop back and inadvertently invite more pressure on themselves.
BRILLIANT GOAL! Leipzig have the lead!
A patient move, quick first-time passes, pass-and-move football, the ball is worked to the right wing and crossed into the area for Olmo, who pings a header into the far post. That should change the game.
48 mins - RB Leipzig 0 Atletico 0
The second half has started largely as the second finished. No obvious change in tactics so far.
KICK OFF 2
Nagelsmann gives some tactical instructions to his players as they come back onto the pitch, and Leipzig get the second half started.
Atletico are a horribly (or delightfully) defensive team. Aggressive, unpleasant, organised, disciplined, devious, their whole thing is making sure the opposition absolutely cannot create any chances to score no matter what they do. Nagelsmann's take on this match is to try and overwhelm Atletico in positions they tend to feel most safe.
So, a back three, or diamond, gives Leipzig a way to pass out from the back and leaves the two Atletico strikers chasing tails, while the five across midfield outnumbers the Atletico four. Because the midfield is actually in the strata between Atletico's defence and midfield, this then means Atletico have to either push defenders forward or drop midfielders in to assist. That leaves the forward heavily marked by two centre-backs.
The other plan that Leipzig have is getting the ball forward quickly with minimal touches. That's hard to do against teams defending in banks of four leaving little space to exploit. Tactically it's been fascinating!
Atletico defending deep, blocking everything, and trying to make use of set pieces. Leipzig are making the pitch big, working the ball well, but can't quite overload a defence that has 10 men in it at any given time. Decent game so far.
44 mins - RB Leipzig 0 Atletico 0
Leipzig working the ball around the final third, Atletico get everyone back to block the area. A cross from the right is headed behind for safety by Trippier, the corner is cleared at the near post, Atletico work hard to force the ball back to the Leipzig goalkeeper.
McManaman and Darren Fletch Fletcher are outraged that the Leipzig players opted to keep possession and go back to their goalkeeper rather than pumping the ball forward and leaving themselves horribly exposed on the counter-attack. It's such a bad take. Everyone has opinions on how the game should be played though I suppose.
41 mins - RB Leipzig 0 Atletico 0
Upemacano takes exactly zero prisoners as he swipes Llorente's legs from under him - winning the ball first - and leaving the Spaniard in a heap on the floor. Atletico take their corner but can't create anything from it, Leipzig push them back towards their own goal.
Leipzig are making the pitch big and have about three or four distinct lines to progress play vertically. It means they can always fizz a pass up the pitch to try and unlock the Atletico defence, which rarely leaves gaps.
38 mins - RB Leipzig 0 Atletico 0
Both players are apparently fine to keep playing. The wonders of a magic sponge in 2020. Savic is currently being mummified in order to continue to be fair, so it's not as if he hasn't felt that collision.
35 mins - RB Leipzig 0 Atletico 0
Ooooohhhhh that is a nasty one. Savic and Halsenberg have absolutely battered into each other while going for a header. They both make pained noises while falling to the floor, Savic's head is pouring with blood. Hopefully they're OK but concussion rules might mean they can't continue. That was like a lorry smashing into... another lorry. In mid air.
32 mins - RB Leipzig 0 Atletico 0
Saul flies into a header, crashes into Sabitzer and then can't believe a foul has been given against him. Simeone is such a nuisance on the touchline, he's reacting as though every single tackle in an attempt to murder his players individually. He's counted eight fouls, and there's no way the referee isn't going to be influenced by that.
29 mins - RB Leipzig 0 Atletico 0
Both teams are playing some really nice stuff to get the ball forward but just not quite finding the final ball.
Simeone has just asked that an opposition player be booked for a foul near the centre-circle. It's the kind of behaviour that should warrant Simeone being sent to the stands. What a jerk move. The problem with it, is that in a crowdless stadium, he could just keep shouting things anyway.
26 mins - RB Leipzig 0 Atletico 0
Leipzig make very optimistic calls for a penalty as a shot booted straight off an Atletico defender from a few yards out - outside the box - goes unpunished by VAR.
It's a lot more end to end than I expected, honestly. Leipzig are good fun to watch.
23 mins - RB Leipzig 0 Atletico 0
Atletico have adjusted how they look defensively. Rather than the flat 4-4-2 which was being overloaded by Leipzig's 3-1-5-1, they're getting an extra man forward to help with the press, making it more of a 4-3-3 out of possession but back to a 4-4-2 when on the ball.
Angelino, who is that left-back you may remember occasionally being alright for Man City, is getting forward often on the Leipzig left. He's up against Kieran Trippier, who you'll also remember.
20 mins - RB Leipzig 0 Atletico 0
Atletico have recovered from the early, and very brief, Leipzig surge, and are picking up free-kicks in the opposition half, hurling them into the box and winning throw-ins off them.
Carrasco is having some joy on the left side in particular.
17 mins - RB Leipzig 0 Atletico 0
Upemacano is some player, I can't imagine he won't be at a bigger/older club at some point very soon. Defends well, loves carrying the ball into midfield.
VAR are still checking that penalty incident with Koke earlier by the way. Koke is running away from Gulacsi and as his foot comes down to keep running, the goalie's raised toes bounce Koke's boot into his other leg. That makes him trip up and go down in the area. It took VAR ages to figure that one but you can see why - it's really complicated.
14 mins - RB Leipzig 0 Atletico 0
Clever move down the left wing from Atletico. Carrasco and Lodi combine well to get the left-back to run into space in the channel, and Lodi takes a shot first time at the near post which forces the goalie to save! The corner comes in and Jimenez leaps to HEAD AT GOAL! Blocked! Koke collects inside the six yard box, the goalkeeper comes off his line... Koke goes down - but there's nobody near him. Simeone, predictably, is incensed and wants a penalty.
11 mins - RB Leipzig 0 Atletico 0
Costa wins a free-kick as Upemacano barges through him to contest a header, the ball is crossed towards the back post and Costa wins a header, knocking the ball towards goal. The goalkeeper has to dive to reach it underneath the cross bar and lands juuuuuuust the right side of the line! That was a big moment in the game, great hands from Gulacsi.
8 mins - RB Leipzig 0 Atletico 0
It's a really aggressive start by Leipzig! They're pressing high, charging into 50/50s, contesting everything with energy... it's the sort of passionate forward defending we expect from Atletico.
Simeone's team are a very simple 4-4-2, with little space between players.
6 mins - RB Leipzig 0 Atletico 0
WHAT A MISS! Huge chance for Halstenberg, who lets the ball drop from a corner and lashes a volley high over the bar from only a few yards out. Leipzig's tactical setup is causing problems for Atletico early on. They seem to have more men in every part of the pitch.
3 mins - RB Leipzig 0 Atletico 0
Leipzig have already changed their formation from what everyone assumed was a 4-3-3 to a 3-3-2-2 by the looks of things. It's hard to tell without actually being there, but they essentially have a defensive diamond and a line of five across the attacking midfield, with one striker beyond. So it's more of a 3-1-5-1.
Atletico in their away kits, Leipzig in their usual white shirts with red shorts.
Here come the players
Both sets of players are in the tunnel at the same time but they come on to the pitch separately.
Atletico Madrid are without a couple players tonight as Angel Correa and injured defender Sime Vrsjalko tested positive for coronavirus.
More information on that, you can read this article here which details Uefa's rules dictating teams having to play matches even if down to 13 players.
How Atletico beat Liverpool
You may recall that it was Atletico that knocked champions Liverpool out of the tournament. I wrote this tactical analysis of how they did that, which might be worth a read for you now if you happen to be interested!
I wonder if this will be relevant tonight. Leipzig like to attack too, with a similar gegenpress style. Here's an excerpt from that article:
How Atlético Madrid defend
Atlético play a highly defensive 4-4-2 designed to show the play wide and encourage their opponents to open up and send players forward to outnumber them in attacking areas.
Liverpool's full-backs usually provide attacking width and move high up the pitch but Atlético sat so deep and so compact that by the time a pass had reached Trent Alexander-Arnold on the right, left-midfielder Thomas Lemar had already sprinted out to close it down, backed up by left-back Lodi.
This is what Liverpool were faced with for the majority of the game:
The press starts higher. Alexander-Arnold pushes up the wing during build-up and a midfielder, in this example Fabinho, drops into the space he has left vacant to give Liverpool the passing angles needed to progress play. Atlético's two strikers are positioned centrally and parallel to the centre-backs, to ensure the pass has to go wide and cannot be pinged into the midfield. The 4-4-2 shifts over as the ball moves wide.
Atlético's midfielders stand just in front of Liverpool's midfielders just in case a low pass is fired in, allowing them to intercept. This is a midfield block.
Fabinho receives the ball on the right, Atlético have already scuttled over to protect the flank and the forward pass to Alexander-Arnold higher up the wing is now risky. Fabinho has to pass back inside to Joe Gomez which means Atlético need to move forwards to squeeze the space and provide even fewer options for a pass.
It’s incredibly difficult to break down. Liverpool did as most teams do against a low block and passed the ball from side to side to try and stretch the Atlético shape and create gaps, but the difference between Simeone’s setup and other teams who play in this style is how strong, fast and talented the players are and how aggressively they defend individually. Atlético are essentially a world-class version of Burnley.
The moment a Liverpool player received the ball in the final third, a defender had snapped on to him as though holding onto the other end of a measuring tape. The only option was to release the ball immediately – dangerous around the Atlético box because of the players waiting to counter-attack – or go backwards. With a 1-0 lead, Atlético could control the game in exactly the way they wanted.
Here are the teams:
The Big One
Welcome to Thursday's big game. I have never met an RB Leipzig fan and probably never will, certainly outside of a match situation, but I have met a few Atletico Madrid supporters, mostly in pubs. Therefore, I can conclude that Atletico are the bigger team. Leipzig were formed in 2009, Atletico were founded in 1903. Does that make the German side any less of a football club? Absolutely not.
Diego Simeone is the manager of the older club, having started his career as a professional footballer in 1987. That's 22 years before blah blah blah. They're still a club. Anyway, here's Simeone:
"It's been a long time since our last game in this competition. The win at Anfield was brilliant, but this is a new start, if you like, and that doesn't have any bearing on tomorrow,
"I'm only focused on preparing the game in the best way I can and taking the game in the direction we want it to go and look to hurt our opponents.
"I am not thinking beyond tomorrow (tonight). Tomorrow (tonight) it's not just important to win - it's the only option.
"Everyone has their opinion. Tomorrow we've got a great game against a good side with a young coach who's doing a great job.
"They're a great side, they came third in their league. They played fewer games than us in the league, but their numbers are very similar to ours over the season.
"I'll repeat: tomorrow (tonight) it's not important to win, it's the only thing that you can do. We'll prepare for the game in that way."
Kick off tonight is at 8pm and the game is a knock-out, one leg affair. That means we might get extra time and penalties, which will be great if the game is entertaining, but knowing Simeone's sides, means this could be a long, tough watch. If Atletico take an early lead, expect nothing but defending for the rest of the match.