A brilliant Naby Keita strike and a sensational Timo Werner solo effort handed Leipzig a deserved win over Hamburg. Leipzig earlier had a penalty overturned by the video referee after Werner went down in the box.
Hamburg 0 - 2 RB Leipzig
(Keita 66', Werner 75')
Leipzig’s start to the match was as rapid as their ascent up the leagues, as they hassled and overpowered Hamburg in the opening stages. The Red Bulls went close in the first six minutes through Keita and Jean-Kevin Augustin, whose flick from a Werner cross nicked the post. Keita and Werner were involved in everything, as Leipzig threatened a repeat of their 4-0 win at the Volksparkstadion last season.
But early results suggest this is a much more resolute Hamburg side, and Markus Gisdol’s men should have made Leipzig pay for their missed opportunities on 24 minutes. A rapid, incisive counter attack left Filip Kostic in plenty of space in the box but the winger could only drag a tame effort wide.
Suddenly the game was swinging from end to end, Wallace went close for Hamburg, Augustin failed to make contact with a sitter for Leipzig. Then, on the stroke of half time, Werner went down in the box under challenge from Albin Ekdal. The referee pointed to the spot but quickly consulted the video referee who spotted that the Swedish defender won the ball.
Naturally Werner, who has been the subject of sustained abuse from the stands for some time - partly for diving, was not a popular man in Hamburg. But it did seem that Ekdal caught the Germany striker on the foot after playing the ball, even if Werner’s fall was a touch on the dramatic side.
The second half started in much less frenetic fashion than the first. While the visitors had more of the ball, neither side was able to create anywhere near as freely as they had in the first half hour.
But the gloom was lit up by Leipzig’s brightest stars. First Keita picked up the ball from a quick free kick and hammered home from distance, his shot swerving away from Christian Mathenia, who got a hand to it but couldn’t stop the strike.
Then Werner made his mark in a more positive fashion. Hamburg almost scored from a corner but the ball eventually fell to new singing Kevin Kampl. The debutant, on as a substitute, found Werner deep in his own half. The Germany forward had space to accelerate and left several opponents for dead as he made up 70 yards before cooly slotting home.
The win lifts Leipzig above Hamburg in the table and, on the evidence of Friday night, it’s difficult believe that they won’t stay there.
As it happened
FULL TIME -- That's it. A decent enough game was settled by the best two players on the pitch. Match report to follow shortly.
90' -- Hamburg have done ok tonight but Leipzig's best two players have been the difference. Werner just seems to be getting better.
86' -- Sabitzer misses an excellent chance for Leipzig but the flag was up anyway.
83' -- Hamburg hurling balls in to the box but it looks like their race is run.
78' -- Sub for Leipzig. Augustin off, Poulsen on.
75' -- GOAL! There it is. Werner has his goal. It all came from a Hamburg corner. The ball broke to Kampl, who found Werner deep in his own half. The Germany striker absolutely roasted the Hamburg defense for pace and stroked home. Another excellent goal.
73'-- Sub for Hamburg, Schipplock for Ekdal.
72' -- Kampl involved straight away as he breaks down the left and whips low towards Werner, who can only poke round the post.
69' -- Kevin Kampl on to make his debut for Leipzig. He replaces Bruma.
66' -- GOAL! Keita for Leipzig. An absoutely sensational strike from the midfielder. Leipzig worked a quick free kick to him and he unleashed from 25 yards, fading the ball away from the keeper. Mathenia got two hands to it and may feel he should've tipped round the post but it was struck very well.
65' -- Upamecano hits a 10 yard pass out of play. Which sums it up at the minute.
61' -- Papadopoulos robs Werner by the byline and celebrates like he's just scored the winner in the World Cup final. The corner comes to nothing.
60' -- Keita is the first player in the book for a tackle on Holtby. There really didn't look like much wrong with that at all to me - a foul at worst.
58' -- The visitors on top but not creating too much. Keita forces a corner but Hamburg scramble it away. Leipzig bring on Klostermann for Bernado.
55' -- Fair to say the second half hasn't quite lived up to the first yet.
51' -- Holtby is down after a little tete a tete with Sabitzer. The Hamburg man was probably lucky to get away without a booking there - he hacked at Sabitzer before falling over his opponent.
49'-- Hamburg have a free kick just outside the box. Holtby runs over it and Waldschmidt...balloons it over the bar.
46'-- We're back underway in Hamburg.
Massive drama at the end there, with the video referee rapidly changing the on-field decision. Rightly so. The first half hour was brilliantly frenetic before a calm period was punctured by the penalty decision. Let's hope for more in the second half.
45' -- It's overruled. No penalty. Werner went down under Ekdal's challenge but the replays showed the Hamburg man clearly got the ball first. No suggestion of a dive from Werner I don't think, his foot got caught in Ekdal's follow through - but it was perhaps a little dramatic. And he does have previous...
45' -- Penalty for Leipzig. But they're going to the video referee!
44' -- Hahn stings Gulasci's hands from distance. Confortable enough for the Leipzig keeper.
41' -- The edge of the first half hour has gone here, it's all got a bit scrappy.
37' -- Early change for HSV. Waldschmidt comes on for Kostic, who must be injured - his miss wasn't that bad.
35' -- The first period of relative calm descends. Doesn't feel like it'll last long though.
30' -- And back come Leipzig through Augustin, who can't quite find the touch to finish Werner's good work. For a 0-0 this is very entertaining.
27' -- Hamburg suddenly very much on top, Wallace volleying just wide from outside the box.
24' -- Horrible miss from Kostic. Hamburg broke brilliantly and worked it to the winger in plenty of space but dragged his shot. A rather more generous reading from the club's official Twitter account is below.
21' -- Hamburg make it up the other end and Wood takes a tumble. His appeals for a penalty weren't without justification, he was taken down by a combination of Orban and a slightly reckless sliding tackle from Demme. A warning for Leipzig, who could pay for their wastefulness.
16' -- Another important save from Mathenia in the Hamburg goal. Werner looks in the mood tonight, it was his left foot shot that forced the save.
11' -- Leipzig really should be ahead by now, they've been utterly dominant. Their latest chance again involved Werner, who laid a lovely ball off to Orban but his shot was blocked.
6' -- Woodwork! Augustin's flick nicks the post after Werner's brilliant break down the left.
4' -- Fast start from Leipzig, Keita breaking through a tackle before lashing over from just inside the box. RB, and the league, will miss him when he's gone.
3' -- Physical start to the game. Werner has a decent headed chance from 10 yards out. But there were three Leipzig players offside by a combined total of about 25 yards.
1' -- And we're off!
The players are going through their paces now, just 10 minutes until kick off.
And the teams are in. Leipzig hand a first start to summer signing Bruma after his spectacular strike last time out while there are few surprises for Hamburg.
After an international fortnight that moved painfully slowly at times, the Bundesliga is back with an enticing Friday night fixture. Hamburg v Leipzig. 3rd v 7th, Wood v Werner.
After starting the season with a very Hamburg-y shock exit in the DFB Pokal, HSV won both of their Bundesliga games before the break - it took them until mid-December to win two league games last term. The last time they won their opening three league games was 1974.
RB Leipzig won this fixture 4-0 at the same time last season and recovered from their opening day loss to Schalke to thump Freiburg last time out. Kick off is at 20:30 CEST.