Dominik Szoboszlai and Andre Silva struck in either half as Manchester City fell to a 2-1 defeat at RB Leipzig in the Champions League.
Premier League leaders City headed to the Red Bull Arena on a 14-game unbeaten run against German opposition in the competition, including a 6-3 home win in the reverse fixture, but Szoboszlai broke the deadlock after 24 minutes this time.
Phil Foden responded by rattling the woodwork before the break, yet Leipzig scored the second goal when Silva converted on the counter, before Riyad Mahrez pulled one back for the visitors.
Pep Guardiola’s hopes of a recovery were hit by Kyle Walker’s red card, although his side had already secured top spot in Group A, with this result – combined with Club Brugge’s defeat at Paris Saint-Germain – enough to take Leipzig into third and a Europa League play-off.
FULL TIME | A disappointing night in Germany but we progress as group winners
Kevin De Bruyne had poked narrowly off target in the opening stages before Lukas Klostermann blocked a presentable opportunity for Jack Grealish at the vital moment.
Klostermann’s intervention paid dividends when Szoboszlai rounded Zack Steffen following Konrad Laimer’s pass to open the scoring two minutes later.
Szoboszlai almost doubled his account but was denied by excellent Steffen reflexes, while Foden drilled onto the post and De Bruyne saw his free-kick turned away by Peter Gulacsi before the interval.
Opportunities were initially limited for City after the break, and they fell two behind when Silva coolly slotted into the bottom-right corner after Emil Forsberg’s offload.
Fernandinho blasted over amid penalty claims for a foul on Raheem Sterling, before Mahrez headed in Oleksandr Zinchenko’s cross to tee up a potentially nervy ending.
However, Walker was then dismissed for hacking through Silva as Leipzig held on.
What does it mean? City’s German dominance ends against resurgent Leipzig
City’s long unbeaten run against German opposition had begun against Bayern Munich in 2014 and most recently took in nine wins in a row, scoring 28 times and conceding just nine, but Guardiola’s men appeared a shadow of their usually dominant selves with nothing on the line.
This was a big result for Leipzig, however, ensuring their European campaign will continue into the new year with a gutsy showing under temporary head coach Achim Beierlorzer – in charge following Jesse Marsch’s dismissal.
Szoboszlai has now scored five times in the Champions League, with four of those coming at home, as the 21-year-old stands as the top-scoring Hungarian in the history of the competition.
However, it was not just Szoboszlai’s goal that stood out for the hosts; he also created a game-high four chances in a magnificent all-round performance.
De Bruyne dazzles
De Bruyne made his first club start in more than a month after missing action with COVID-19, and the Belgium international returned with his usual class, albeit in a losing cause.
The playmaker registered a team-high three key passes, while also attempting a game-leading five shots, although only one of those hit the target when Gulacsi pushed away his first-half free-kick.
Manchester City return to Premier League action at home to Wolves on Saturday, while Leipzig host Borussia Monchengladbach in the Bundesliga on the same day.
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