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Julian Nagelsmann And Leipzig Make José Mourinho And Spurs Look Obsolete

Leipzig looks very much like this year's Ajax.

In terms of a 1-0 scoreline, there’s no greater beatdown than the one RB Leipzig just administered to Tottenham in London on Wednesday. The difference on the scoreboard was Timo Werner’s 58th-minute penalty, but the difference on the pitch was an incredible gulf in tempo, build-up play and variation in attack.

Outside of Germany, Julian Nagelsmann is just a source of inspiration for numerologists (“omfg the Leipzig manager is seven months younger than Hugo Lloris! omfg Nagelsmann was 16 when Mourinho won the UCL with Porto!”), but the 32-year-old manager has now proven to a global audience that he’s the future. In the other technical area, Mourinho looked like a man completely out of touch with today’s game of frantic pressing and rapid transitions. 

Of course Tottenham is understandably limited without Harry Kane and Son Heung-min, but, on paper, this is still a Spurs side with a squad value approaching $1 billion while Leipzig’s is just over $650 million. Wednesday, Tottenham was run ragged by Roma reject Patrik Schick, former NYCFC baller Angeliño and Chelsea loanee Ethan Ampadu.

There was certainly something Liverpool-esque in the way Leipzig fullbacks Angeliño and Nordi Mukiele shifted the balance for the away side, but despite all of Leipzig’s brilliance — particularly in a remarkably one-sided first half — all Leipzig has to show for it is Werner’s penalty.

Ben Davies crushed Konrad Laimer in the area to concede it. 

And Werner rifled the reward beyond Lloris for the game’s lone goal.

Leipzig really should’ve finished at least one of these three glorious opportunities.

And it could’ve bitten them in the ass because Tottenham did improve around the time that Érik Lamela and Tanguy Ndombele were introduced in the 64th minute. But the only Tottenham player who really showed up was Giovani Lo Celso, who had shades of Gareth Bale with one breathtaking 80-yard run and a free kick that Péter Gulácsi tipped onto the post. 

So Tottenham is still alive, and the great news for Spurs is that between now and the second leg on March 10, Leipzig plays against Schalke (sixth place), Leverkusen (fifth place) and Wolfsburg (ninth place) while battling for the Bundesliga title. 

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