RB Leipzig Season Preview: A new era beckons 
Photo Credit(gettyimages/NurPhoto)

RB Leipzig Season Preview: A new era beckons 

RB Leipzig have come close to challenging for the Bundesliga title multiple times, but can they lodge a proper charge under Julian Nagelsmann?

uttiyos
Uttiyo Sarkar

RB Leipzig looks forward to the Bundesliga season hoping to be title-contenders having churned together a strong squad for their new manager, Julian Nagelsmann. The former Hoffenheim boss has earned quite the stark reputation in his short managerial career and aims to amplify that at his new home. Die Rotten Bullen are yet to win a prominent competition in their decade-long history but aim to change that with the restructure.

Transfer Business Overview

The new boss didn’t receive the biggest transfer kitty but made good use of what he had. They’ve actually signed some very promising talents for cut prices to hand their new gaffer players which go perfectly with his philosophy.

Everton’s Ademola Lookman sealed his return to the Bundesliga after a loan stint last year, signing for €18 million. The 21-year-old netted five goals in 11 appearances in his last tenure in Germany but now hopes to redeem himself by moving a more comfortable environment. Christopher Nkunku has also made the move from Paris Saint-Germain for €13 million, adding more depth to their midfield line.

Marius Wolf has also been roped in for €12 million from sister club RB Salzburg, adding even more firepower to their attacking line. Die Rotten Bullen have also reinforced their defence, signing young Brazilian left-back Luan Candido for €8 million. However, it’s Ethan Ampadu’s loan signing which is particularly exciting knowing how well the young centre-back has done in Chelsea’s youth set-up.

Philipp Tschauner has also been signed for €350,000 from Hannover, adding experience to their goalkeeping department. Die Rotten Bullen also have had a few departures to balance the sheets, with winger Jeffrey Bruma moving to PSV Eindhoven for €12 million and young goalkeeper Julian Krahl leaving on a free. Marius Muller’s the other goalkeeper to have parted ways, while Emile Smith-Rowe, who shined through last season, has returned to Arsenal after his loan spell.

However, RB Leipzig could’ve reinforced their defence better to compete with the big guns. Dayot Upamencano remains their brightest spark in that department, but they needed a strong figure to keep out the blistering Bundesliga opponents. Moreover, their fullback situation isn’t great either. Die Rotten Bullen are still vulnerable defensively and unless they add fresh faces fast, they could be riddled with problem once the season starts.

Manager

At 31 years of age, Julian Nagelsmann is among the youngest managers in Bundesliga history. After a career-ending injury struck him at youth level, the German decided to move into management at an age that most players find their footing on the pitch. Nagelsmann achieved quite a lot of success at Hoffenheim, even managing to guide them into the UEFA Champions League stages last season.

Nagelsmann might be younger than many players in the league, but he possesses one of the brightest footballing brains in the country. As a result, Leipzig, which is a young club itself, wants a youthful manager who mirrors their philosophy to take them forward with an exciting brand of football. While Ralf Ragnick, their former manager, preferred a narrow 4-2-2-2 formation, his successor could end up changing that.

In pre-season, he’s opted for a 4-3-3 formation and seems to have changed up from the 3-4-3 he preferred at Hoffenheim. Regardless, whatever shape he goes with, Nagelsmann’s philosophy is always to play a high-octane style. His team tends to attack in numbers, keep control of possession and press high with their superior fitness levels. Obviously, the German has a lot to do to integrate his style perfectly, but once everyone adapts to it, Die Rotten Bullen will be a different beast altogether.

Player To Watch

Die Rotten Bullen is stacked with promising talent, much of whom are ready to take the leap to a higher level under new management.  However, there’s little doubting Timo Werner still remains as their best player and leader going forward. The 23-year-old flirted with moves to Liverpool and Bayern Munich recently but has since committed to Leipzig.  

Werner started his career at Wolfsburg, coming out of their system and also making his Bundesliga debut with them. It was at Wolfsburg where he became the youngest ever debutant, while also becoming the youngest player to have scored a brace in the Bundesliga. He moved to Leipzig in 2016, after which it’s been a crazy ride to the top for the German international.

It was widely thought he would move out of Leipzig last season, but Die Rotten Bullen has still managed to keep him at bay. Having already scored 50 goals in just 93 Bundesliga appearances for Leipzig, Werner’s proven himself among the best strikers in Europe over the years. He’s quick, comfortable with the ball in his feet and absolutely lethal when it comes to finishing chances.

It’s hard to imagine where they’d be without their main goal-scorer, who’s also formed a deadly partnership with Yussuf Poulsen. Under Nagelsman revamped system, Werner should move into the next stage of his career and turn into an even deadlier goal-scorer.

One For The Future

Well, Leipzig has a very young squad for their new gaffer to utilize now, but certain youngsters are yet to make a proper breakthrough into the senior squad. Tyler Adams is one youngster we can expect to see much more of throughout this season, mostly due to his impressive versatility making him the kind of player Nagelsmann really likes.

Adams was signed from Major League Soccer side New York Red Bulls earlier this year and made quite a few appearances under Ragnick in the second half of last season. A very compatible player with technical knowledge, Adams can play in midfield, as a full-back or even as a winger. He’s a jack of all trades, who will only get better with a mentor like Nagelsmann.

Considering that he was brought in as Naby Keita’s long-term replacement, doing a pretty good job at that in his first appearances, Adams is the spark of energy needed for Die Rotten Bullen to go into overdrive. When you look at how his new manager likes a possession game, a dynamic player like the USA international should work wonders if honed well enough.

Predicted Finish

There’s little doubt that RB Leipzig has churned out a packed squad full of potential for their new manager. However, considering that it’s a new job for Julian Nagelsmann, while many players will take adapting to his system, challenging for the title is difficult.

Surely, they’ll play sizzling football and score goals, but their inexperience doesn’t allow them to fly high like Bayern Munich or Borussia Dortmund. A third-place finish, like last season, will probably be their Bundesliga reality, but they could go far in the DFB Pokal if they take it seriously.

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