The Bundesliga boasts a number of historic clubs. From Schalke, to Borussia Dortmund to current juggernauts Bayern Munich. But a babyfaced club with huge backing is threatening to make an impact in Germany.
Bayern Munich have recently dominated the German division, winning leagues and cups every season. But Red Bull Leipzig, who were founded in 2009, are on a trajectory to challenge the Munich giants for those honours.
Leipzig were only promoted to the Bundesliga last season, and in their first attempt, finished 2nd in the league. A monumental achievement for a club younger than every player in it’s squad.
The path that RB Leipzig have taken to this point is not something that the fans in Germany are particularly keen on. Heavily backed by energy drink giants Red Bull, they have forced their way to the top by outspending every team in the lower divisions.
Despite this, they have built the team around many young players who have developed under the game time offered to them by Leipzig. The likes of Timo Werner, Marcel Sabitzer and Emil Forbserg were signed for relatively low fee’s yet have proven themselves at the highest level.
But, Bayern Munich need more competition. They have for a long time dominated German football, their most recent challengers in Borussia Dortmund have failed to sustain their upward trajectory. Such is Bayern Munichs power in the division that they could pick and choose the playing staff they recruited, knowing their financial power and current domination would guarantee a successful transfer.
But a 2nd place finish in Leipzigs first Bundeslga season shows they mean business. They currently sit in 6th place in the current table, albeit only 4 points from second. This season has been a steep learning curve for the club, having to compete with Champions League football ensure their schedule was more demanding than ever before.
They went out at the group stages but have progressed through the recent knockout round of the Europa League. Timo Werner starred as they knocked out Italian side Napoli over 2 legs. This european experience is proving vital for their progression as a club and for those individual players. The likes of Werner are likely to be heading to the World Cup this summer, an opportunity to really test themselves on the worlds biggest stage.
Challenging for the Bundesliga title may be a few seasons off for RB Leipzig. But their progression is to be admired. Another top 4 finish for the Germans this season will cement them as direct competition for the dominating Munich side. Which can only be good for German football and fans alike.