In the second Champions League clash of the new season, and one of the most highly anticipated of the group, Real Madrid took on Red Bull Leipzig. For Ancelotti’s men, particular attention was going to be paid to the likes of Christopher Nkunku, Szoboszlai, and Timo Werner— three of the German side’s most lethal attackers. Carlo Ancelotti opted to continue his rotation policy, throwing Nacho into the line-up and giving Camavinga a start in midfield. After his impressive showing over the weekend, Rodrygo got the nod over Hazard as the false nine. It was a tense and tight affair for most of the evening with neither side able to break the deadlock. It took some inspiring finishing from Fede at the top of the box to open the scoring. A late Marco Asensio goal off a well-rehearsed free kick helped sentence the match. Full match player ratings below:
Thibaut Courtois—7.5: Quick off his line to sweep up any attacks over Madrid’s high line. Made a total of three saves in the match, with all three coming from shots inside the box.
Dani Carvajal—7: Dealt well with the threat of Nkunku who tried to overpower Carvajal with his pace, but the Spaniard was able to keep up.
Antonio Rudiger—7: Came up with a few important last ditch tackles to deny a goal-scoring opportunity. Has integrated quickly and looks at home in the Real Madrid backline.
Nacho—8.5: Imperious performance — smothered Timo Werner at every attempt.
David Alaba—6: A little bit loose with the ball and failed to make the usual offensive impact from left back.
Tchouameni—6: A good battle in the middle of the park with Forsberg. Focused mostly on patrolling the midfield and his defensive contributions, very limited impact offensively or on the ball.
Eduardo Camavinga—5: Had a few good toe-poke tackles to win the ball back, but did not have many ideas on the ball to break down a resilient Leipzig defensive shape.
Luka Modric—6.5: Ran all over the pitch during his 81 minutes on the field, but missed Kroos or another creative outlet to help break down RB Leipzig.
Fede Valverde—8.5: Leading candidate for “most improved” this season. Scored the game-opener with a beautiful cut and finish near the top of the box. Has finally added the composure and precision in the final third that was missing in his game
Vinicius Junior—7: Frustrating evening where not everything came off, but did create the one big chance of the game and registered an assist on the Valverde goal.
Rodrygo Goes—6: Played as the false nine, but was not able to replicate his performance from the weekend. Found pockets of space in between the lines, but his shots when inside the box were wayward.
Marco Asensio—7: Scored a late goal off a well-rehearsed set piece. The ball from Toni Kroos was not an easy one to handle, bobbling off the patchy grass. Despite the challenge, Asensio hit the ball first time and his finish rattled off the back post into the net.
Dani Ceballos—N/A: Only played 5 minutes, but had a good dribbling sequence late in the game to spark a counter-attack.
Toni Kroos—N/A: Registered an assist on the Marco Asensio goal by playing the ball to the Spaniard at the top of the box in what was a well-rehearsed set piece.
Ferland Mendy—N/A: Brought on to shore up the backline in the final moments.
Mariano Diaz—N/A: Brought on in place of Rodrygo for the final minutes of the match.