Nagelsmann savours 'lifelong dream' as RB Leipzig make history

Oleh Sacha Pisani 28 November 2019 13
Nagelsmann savours 'lifelong dream' as RB Leipzig make history

Julian Nagelsmann revelled in RB Leipzig's dramatic comeback as the German side reached the Champions League last 16 for the first time in their history.

Emil Forsberg's 96th-minute equaliser salvaged a stunning 2-2 draw at home to Portuguese champions Benfica in Group G on Wednesday.

Trailing 2-0 with 11 seconds of normal time remaining in the midweek clash at Red Bull Arena, Forsberg converted a 90th-minute penalty before sensationally levelling the game six minutes later.

Afterwards, Nagelsmann – who became the first head coach to guide Hoffenheim into Europe and then into the Champions League before making history with Leipzig – said via the club's website: "We played well in the first half and had a lot of good chances. But, unlike in the last few matches, we failed to convert them. It was even more difficult after going behind but we found extra courage.

"What my team then produced in the last 20 minutes was so impressive. Of course, it's a bit lucky to equalise so late in the game but we did deserve our goals because we created more than Benfica.

"We're deservedly through to the next round. It feels amazing. Some of the guys are fulfilling a lifelong dream, especially the ones who played for RBL in the second and third tiers. Now we want to make sure we finish top of the group."

Two-goal hero Forsberg added: "The last few minutes were simply incredible. I will never forget tonight's match. The atmosphere was unbelievable and it's a huge result for our fans and the club.

"We never gave up. We kept creating chances and it paid off in the end. Benfica were strong opponents and we made some basic errors in the lead up to their goals. But that doesn't matter. It's still a wonderful feeling to get through to the last 16."

The incredible fightback eliminated Benfica, who needed victory away from home to remain in the competition.

"Getting to the 90th minute and allowing the opponent to draw is hard to take," Benfica coach Bruno Lage said. "We did what we planned and prepared. We had more of the ball, more play in offensive midfield.

"We knew that they would come with everything. When we reached the 90th minute, we ended up offering the penalty and the header for the draw. For what we did, we deserved the three points."

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