A tepid goalless draw after a 2300km trip doesn't look like ideal Bundesliga preparation for RB Leipzig. The German side were wasteful against 10-man Zorya Luhansk to leave group stage qualification in the balance.
Zorya Luhansk 0 - 0 RB Leipzig
Red Bulls coach Ralf Rangnik named a strong side, including Germany striker Timo Werner, despite his side travelling to face Borussia Dortmund in their domestic season opener less than 72 hours later.
But Leipzig's Ukranian hosts started the brighter, forcing back up keeper Yvon Mvogo in to a smart early save, before a moment of madness from Bogdan Lednev after 15 minutes handed the visitors a distinct advantage.
The young midfielder, on loan from Dynamo Kiev, lost his cool after an altercation and stamped on Leipzig's Marcelo Saracchi before receiving his marching orders.
Rangnick must've thought then that his gamble would pay off and at least set up a home leg next Thursday where a few tired legs could get some rest - Leipzig have already played six competetive matches this season.
But it wasn't to be. Werner had a shot cleared off the line six minutes later before almost playing in new signing Matheus Cunha just after the break, but the Brazilian couldn't get a toe to the cross.
Emil Forsberg and Yusuf Poulsen were called from the bench in an attempt to break down the stubborn home side but it was to no avail, and Leipzig must now win - or play out another goalless draw and win on penalties - to make the group stages.
But there's little time to dwell on this one for the Red Bulls. Dortmund await.
mp (SID, DPA)