With Timo Werner reportedly close to a move to Chelsea we cast a glance over the forward’s performance for RB Leipzig against SC Paderborn on Saturday. This article was first published on June 06.
As usual under Julian Nagelsmann Werner lined up just off the striker, this time Patrik Schick rather than his usual partner Yussuf Poulsen, who is still injured.
The obvious place to start with is goals, of which there were none for Werner. He had one brilliant chance in the second half but poked wide when faced with an open goal, although admittedly whilst under pressure from two defenders. He blazed another effort over and had a couple of shots blocked as well.
It does mean Werner’s last 10 games in the Bundesliga read like this: Blank, blank, goal, blank, blank, blank, hat-trick, blank, goal, blank. As we pointed out in our analysis of his move on Friday the one thing you can really fault Werner on is his consistency.
However, there was plenty more for Chelsea fans to get excited about. Firstly that chance with the open goal we spoke about only came about because of his phenomenal pace. Latching onto a back pass Werner burst clear before touching it past the goalkeeper. The finishing touch would have been nice but few players would have found themselves in that position in the first place.
His pace was evident in the first half as well when he burst away from the defence on both wings on more than one occasion.
What was really pleasing to see however was his link-up play. Werner has worked on that side of his game and he regularly dropped deep to help link midfield and attack, as well as playing in his team-mates.
His assist for Schick’s goal was a perfect example of that. A younger Werner might have tried to curl the ball into the far corner when presented with the opportunity but instead this more mature version squared it for an easy finish for his team-mate.
Werner’s contributions this season aside from his goals are one of the primary reasons you can forgive his tendency to score in patches.
The problem of course is that he missed a couple of chances and his team were hit by a late goal by their opponents. The result means they miss the chance to really pull away from Borussia Monchengladbach and Bayer Leverkusen, who both lost this weekend, and that might prove pivotal at the end of the season.
But that blame shouldn’t rest on Werner’s shoulders. Leipzig were left in the lurch when Dayot Upamecano was sent off for a needless second yellow in the first half. That Werner kept working as hard as he did, particularly without Schick in the second-half, is a testament to him.
RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano is sent off against Paderborn.
Image credit: Getty Images
And before all this had even happened some potential doubt was cast on the move when RB Leipzig chief executive Oliver Mintzlaff revealed that there had been no contact with Chelsea.
“So far, Timo Werner has not drawn the clause, nor has a club sent a transfer contract,” Mintzlaff told Sky Germany.
“We haven’t had an exchange yet, so we have nothing to report. Timo Werner is an RB Leipzig player.
“It was important for us that we extended his contract, which we did last summer, because of course it is important for our young club that no player moves free of charge.
“Of course, there was this release clause that we put in the contract to give him the opportunity to take the next step. Now Timo Werner is sitting in the driver's seat, no longer us.”
There is no need for Chelsea fans to panic. Reports have suggested that Werner has agreed to move to Chelsea, convinced by manager Frank Lampard and technical director Petr Cech, more a case of the finer details being worked out.
And with four Bundesliga games to go this season there will be plenty of opportunity for them to watch their new man in action.