Tottenham were undone by a Timo Werner penalty, giving RB Leipzig the advantage heading back to Germany for the second leg.
The 1-0 result flattered Spurs, who struggled for large portions of the first leg.
Ben Davies was handily beaten to the ball in the 57th minute by Konrad Laimer, whose touch took him by the stranded left back. Unsure what to do, Davies bundled into Laimer to concede the penalty which Timo Werner finished cleanly, and with the utmost confidence.
The home side, however, made a late push thanks to the introduction of Erik Lamela and Tanguy Ndombele. Lamela impressed off the bench, adding skill and intensity to a side in desperate need of both.
Giovani Lo Celso enjoyed an excellent performance, and was easily the most threatening of Tottenham players. He almost scored from a fantastically taken free kick but was thwarted by a strong Péter Gulácsi save. Leipzig started to lose their composure in the latter stages of the match, with Tottenham finally pushing the tempo. One wishes Spurs started the way they finished the match, but circumstances differed vastly at that point of the tie.
Lamela followed his compatriot’s lead about 10 minutes later, wizzing in a free kick that was again saved well by Gulácsi. Spurs will be more optimistic about their chances in the return leg if they can take the impetus like they did in the final 20 minutes. Though Mourinho’s sides rarely start on the front foot away from home in the Champions League.
Leipzig had a number of golden opportunities to increase their slim advantage, but failed to capitalize. Hopefully the German side will rue their wastefulness.