RB Leipzig cruised to a 4-0 victory over Shakhtar Donetsk to guarantee their place in the Champions League knockout stages.
Christopher Nkunku put them in front on just 10 minutes, slotting home a rebound after Timo Werner’s shot was stopped by Anatoliy Trubin.
Shakhtar began poorly but came into the game towards the end of the first half, however they were out of it soon into the second period when Mohamed Simakan headed David Raum’s cross back across the area and Andre Silva stabbed the ball home.
Nkunku’s through-ball set up Dominik Szoboszlai to round the goalkeeper and make it three just past the hour before Dani Olmo, a minute after coming onto the field, curled home from a narrow angle to complete a rout.
Leipzig end the group with 12 points, one behind Real Madrid, while Shakhtar go into the Europa League after ending up in third with six points.
Can Nkunku be a star of World Cup? – For RB Leipzig, the mid-season break could not come at a worse time for them with unbeaten in ten, and with eight wins. For Nkunku maybe it could not come at a better time. He has scored eight in nine games for the German side and while far from a certain striker for France, he will likely be the first addition to the side if they do not start well. He is not the spearhead we know Mbappe likes to play with but his all-round game has developed in the time since he joined Leipzig from PSG to the extent that he will be a nightmare to play against for any international side. His goal showed the all-round skills he brings, the sublime no-look pass to set up Timo Werner and then the alert poacher instinct to put the rebound home. His set-up for Dominik Szoboszlai’s strike was also well worthy of any of world football’s top stars.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH
Mohamed Simakan (RB Leipzig) – Nkunku is unfortunate not to win this award but the right-back for the visitors was just as impressive. When Shakhtar had their moments either side of half time, he was there to ensure this was not rewarded with a goal, and then he set up the crucial second strike for Andre Silva. The World Cup will come too soon for him in all likelihood but with Chelsea, Milan and PSG all known admirers, his time will come.
Shakhtar Donetsk: Trubin 6; Konoplia 5, Matviyenko 5, Bondar 6, Mykhaylichenko 5; Stepanenko 6; Petriak 5, Bondarenko 6, Sudakov 5, Mudryk 5; Traore 6.
Subs: Taylor 6, Sikan 6, Djurasek 6, Totvytsky 6, Kryskiv 6.
Leipzig: Blaswich 6; Simakan 8, Gvardiol 7, Orban 6, Raum 7; Schlager 6, Kampl 7; Szoboszlai 7, Nkunku 8, Werner 7; Andre Silva 7.
Subs: Forsberg 7, Henrichs 6, Halstenberg 6, Olmo 7, Diallo 6.
10′ GOAL FOR RB LEIPZIG! Werner’s shot was saved by Trubin but Nkunku was on hand to put in the rebound.
50′ GOAL FOR LEIPZIG! A very strange goal. Simakan heads the ball back across the goal after Raum’s cross is too deep for all in the middle and Andre Silva jumps to stab the ball home just inside the post.
62′ GOAL FOR LEIPZIG! Nkunku’s audacious flick put Szoboszlai through on goal and the Hungarian rounded the keeper then put the ball in the net.
68′ GOAL FOR LEIPZIG! A smart free kick was tapped to Kampl by Forsberg and then Olmo curls a ball home from a tight angle.