After easily navigating through the second round of UEFA Europa League qualifying, RB Leipzig took on Universitatea Craiova of Romania in the first leg of their third round encounter at home on last Thursday night.
The Bundesliga 1’s only side from the former East Germany was in complete control of the match throughout, yet they only managed relatively narrow 3-1 victory in the end.
It is a dangerous score to take to Romania for next week’s second leg, given that a 2-0 home win would send Universitatea through on away goals.
Unlike Leipzig, who have yet to start their domestic season, Craiova has played in their national Super Cup as well as the first few rounds of their league, albeit with disappointing results.
But they were inactive before Thursday in Europe, given a bye into the third round of Euro League qualifying, as winners of last season’s Romanian Cup.
After having missed several early scoring chances, RB Leipzig finally took the lead courtesy of Ibrahima Konaté, more than halfway through the first half.
After the break, RBL slowed down play for large parts of the second 45 minutes. That only changed toward the end of the match, when Matheus Cunha and Yussuf Poulsen added a second and a third goal respectively, only ten minutes apart.
Deep into added time, Ivan Martic gave the visitors a vital away goal the renewed hope that goes with it.
RB Leipzig must be careful in the second leg, since it will surely be a different game than it was in the Red Bull Arena.
Going out of the competition at this stage would be a disaster not only for the Saxon club, but also for the Bundesliga and German soccer in general, the latter finds itself in an unprecedented crisis. Having said all of that however, RBL possesses the quality that should surely get them through.