It was a riveting rendezvous in Northern France, but we were left with nothing to celebrate - for now at least. Our 0-1 defeat away to LOSC Lille delays our chance of a dream spot in the UEFA Champions League knockout stages until we face FC Sevilla on 8 December in Salzburg. After five matches played, Group G is as open as it could possibly be, with all four teams still in with a chance of making the last 16.
There was no time wasted putting out feelers in this one. Our boys and Lille took turns to launch menacing breaks from the start, with the final pass lacking at either end to trouble the keeper. A free-kick in a promising position from Maximilian Wöber, who flashed his set-piece ability against Wolfsburg, failed to test LOSC keeper Grbic (15').
It wouldn't all be as frantic as the start, however. After the first 15 minutes had passed, the attacking interest waned a little at both ends. We lost our momentum a bit as a consequence, and we had a near miss in the 27th minute. Burak Yilmaz was given way too much space in front of goal, and thankfully the Turk miscued his shot and hit only his other leg.
This chance was just a precursor of what was to come, however. LOSC Lille penned us back deep in our own half and moved the ball freely around the edge of our area. Yilmaz then tried to dribble straight through. Several of our Red Bulls stepped in the way, but with an unfortunate run of the ball it landed at the feet of Jonathan David – and it was an easy peasy finish for the 21-year-old who made it 1-0 to Lille from short range (31'). As the first half went on, we battled back, but were unable to create any notable chances before the break.
The second half began more cautiously at both ends, but after ten minutes of play in the period, we had probably our best phase of the match. Karim Adeyemi started it off by rushing towards the LOSC target on the right. His pass landed in among a bunch of defenders, however (54'). Shortly after that, Rasmus Kristensen did well to get a corner and hit the side netting.
Shortly after that it was Adeyemi who inspired hope again with his incredible pace. Tjago Djalo bundled the German down just a millimetre or two outside of the box (63'). The free-kick looked less promising than a penalty, and nothing came of it.
The resulting final phase was a thrilling battle of strength without any breakthrough. We tried with all our might to keep the play going forward, while Lille sought to pounce on the break. The home fans saw little of their team in our half, but we created few real chances. We threw everything forward regardless, but it just wasn't to be. Lille took the narrowest of 1-0 wins. It all comes down now to the final group match against Sevilla.
Fundamentally, I can't fault my team, as they tried to play just the way we wanted to on the pitch. We knew that at this level the small details can decide everything, and that was the case today. It was unnecessary to concede, but it could easily have ended goalless. We weren't quite clinical enough but it was a decent performance on the whole.
There weren't many scoring chances. Lille were a bit luckier and scored the opening goal, then it was difficult for us to come back. On the whole, we aren't pleased, of course. The determination, the final pass and our finishing were all lacking. If we avoid losing in the final match, we're in the next round. We will look ahead to next time and do better then!
We had two or three opportunities to get in on goal, but we often made the wrong decision. We stood our ground well at the back, but we conceded a sloppy goal that we should have been able to deal with. It was a bit unlucky too. It's a great shame really!
Capaldo for Sucic (59'), Adamu for Sesko (59'), Bernardo for Seiwald (85'), Kjaergaard for Aaronson (85')
Kristensen (8' foul), Seiwald (35' foul), Kjaergaard (90' foul), Adeyemi (90+6' unsporting behaviour)
not available for action
Junuzovic (heel), Koita (knee), Okafor (thigh), Okoh (knee), Piatkowski (ankle), Vallci (Achilles)