RB Leipzig have recently rediscovered their desire to play their game. After several faltering performances, the RB attack were back on track against Hertha Berlin with a convincing 5-0 victory over the team from the capital. The Ralf Rangnick side have mined a rich vein of form in 2019. Leipzig are unbeaten in the last nine games and qualification for the Champions League is within reach with a five-point lead over the club in fifth place. The Leipzig defensive stats are perhaps even more impressive: They have only conceded three goals since the winter break with the keeper Peter Gulacsi last picking the ball out of his net against Hoffenheim in February. The 20 goals conceded this term is the least in the league and forms the base for another successful campaign for Leipzig – even if the first Europa League campaign did not go to plan with an exit at the group stage. RB are still in the DFB Cup with a last-minute winner in extra time away to Augsburg securing a semi-final slot..
There was plenty of good news for RB in the game against Hertha: Playmaker Emil Forsberg, who missed much of the first half of the season due to a groin problem, made his second start in succession for the first time in 2019 since recovering from injury and he shone with a goal and an assist. Yussuf Poulsen (pictured above), benefited with a hat-trick of goals number 13, 14 and 15 in the current campaign: The Dane is having the best season of his career and is in with a shout of winning the top goalscorer trophy in Germany. The main men in the club management Rangnick and Oliver Mintzlaff will also have been particularly pleased: Two winter signings have demonstrated their great potential. The 20-year-old American Tyler Adams stood out against Hertha with his quality as the enforcer in front of the defence and the 21-year-old Amadou Haidara topped his impressive Bundesliga debut with the goal to make it 5-0. Haidara is seen as the player at RB to follow in the footsteps Naby Keita after his move to Liverpool playing the role as the link between defence and attack. Interestingly, both Keita and Haidara joined Leipzig from the Austrian sister club RB Salzburg as did the keeper Gulacsi plus defenders Dayot Upamecano, Stefan Ilsanker and Konrad Laimer. Adams is the first player to sign for RB Leipzig from the USA partner New York Red Bulls.
There are slight concerns about two of the key performers in a solid team. The defence is currently lacking two regular first choices in Upamecano and Lukas Klostermann due to injuries. Upamecano is only due to return at the end of April. Klostermann, who suffered a muscle injury in his debut for Germany, is a possible for the game against Bayer 04. Nordi Mukiele, who replaced Klostermann against Hertha, was taken off after getting booked as a precaution in the last match. The second worry is about the star of the team: Germany striker Timo Werner has not really got going in 2019 after an impressive tally of 11 goals in the first half of the season with only one goal scored in the Bundesliga since January. On the plus side, he did find the back of the net in the DFB Cup tie at Augsburg.
RB Leipzig are on course to remain a top team in Germany and in Europe. Julian Nagelsmann, one of the most talented coaches in the game, is set to take over the helm at RB in the summer – the hope is that will mark the start of an era at Leipzig. The young, yet high-profile, coach has a young and talented squad to work with. Players like Upamecano, Adams, Haidara plus Ibrahima Konaté and Jean-Kevin Augustin have already proved they can play at the highest level although none of them are older than 21. The impressive scouting section and the link with other RB teams will continue to bring highly talented players to Leipzig in the future and competing at the top of German football is therefore likely to continue.
Leipzig look secure in a Champions League spot with a five-point lead over the fifth-placed club – above all due to the background of tremendous stability and consistency in their performances. The team from Saxony look more than likely to qualify for Europe’s premier club competition for the second time in the club’s short history.
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