After placing second in the Bundesliga for the second time in the club’s entire five-year history of top-flight football, the East German side was, almost inevitably, gutted over the summer. Not only did the core central defense pairing of Dayot Upamecano and Ibrahima Konaté depart for fees in excess of £35 million each, but so too did manager Julian Nagelsmann, with him and the French defender going to champions Bayern Munich.
Still, this is something that Die Roten Bullen are used to, and have the right structure to pull in a proven manager and sign top talents as soon as their own depart. The cycle has worked well for the club over recent years, and even with these massive departures, it could be primed for another campaign of success. At the very least, the new manager thinks so.
Marsch optimistic about the campaign ahead
Despite having some huge boots to fill, RB Leipzig’s new head coach, Jesse Marsch, is optimistic about the team’s ability to compete this season. As was relayed by The Seattle Times, the boss brought over from Red Bull Salzburg says that if he can help the squad achieve its potential, “we can be competing for some really big, big things.”
He’s certainly proven in the past to be able to get the best out of talented, quite young teams, holding an impressive 2.18 points per match rate across 94 games in charge of Salzburg. Furthermore, his style of play both suits an evolving Bundesliga and the energetic cast at his disposal. The analysis of his tactics by Running the Show indicates that he inspires high energy across the pitch, with an aggressive press that aims to score as a result.
However, despite the manager having a strong record and proven credentials elsewhere, he is untested in the German top-flight. Furthermore, losing the core of the defense has also weakened the club’s position in the eyes of the experts. While football betting sites like Space Casino have RB Leipzig as the clear 8/15 favorites to win the first game of the season, against Mainz, they’re rated third behind Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich to take the crown.
Stellar recruitments to continue to build upwards
When looking at RB Leipzig’s recruiting history, particularly as a Bundesliga club, it’s clear that they’re not just going through an inevitable cycle of replacing their top players but performing more of an upward spiral. With each year of cycling, the team seems to improve just a little bit more, harnessing the powers of more costly prospects that have even higher ceilings.
With Dayot Upamecano and Ibrahima Konaté gone for a cool £74.25 million, they’ve reinvested in two of the hottest centre-back talents in Europe. The first is Mohamed Simakan, a 21-year-old from RC Strasbourg who broke out as one to watch over the last couple of Ligue 1 campaigns. The second is Josko Gvardiol, who, despite being only 19-years-old, played all but 20 minutes of Croatia’s Euro 2020 campaign.
So, they’ve patched holes at the back with exciting new talents to build up, but perhaps the most significant move was to improve the team up top. Having lost record scorer Timo Werner to Chelsea, the team’s top scorer dipped from 34 goals to 11. Yussuf Poulsen did an admirable job, helping others to get involved in the scoring as well, but the team’s count of just 60 goals in the league ranked sixth. So, Die Roten Bullen have brought in the Portuguese frontman who netter 28 Bundesliga goals for Eintracht Frankfurt last season, Andre Silva.
With two high-ceiling center-backs, a new striker who proved to be a dynamo last season, and the signings of Angeliño and Benjamin Henrichs to reinforce at full-back, RB Leipzig look strong coming into 2021/22. Marsch has reason to be optimistic, especially if his aggressive style can result in Silva getting the ball more often.
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