7M - Can Leipzig be the next Kaiserslautern?

Posted Saturday, December 17, 2016 by 7M Sport

7M - Can Leipzig be the next Kaiserslautern?
RB Leipzig are stunners this season

Who are so far the most eye-catching side in Bundesliga this season? Not the reigning champions Bayern Munich, or the Bumblebees Borussia Dortmund, it has to be newly-promoted RB Leipzig, whose name is even unheard of before this term.

RB Leipzig are founded in 2009. With the support of energy drinks giant Red Bull, Leipzig have earned four promotions in seven years and they play in Bundesliga for the first time this season. But many people think that Leipzig are just marketing vehicles for Red Bull. For that commercial reason, Leipzig have overtaken Hoffenheim to be the most hated club in Germany. They are always not welcomed in the away games. However, they manage to turn that hatred into a team spirit and stun most of us so far in this season. After 11 rounds, they even ran up to the top of Bundesliga following Bayern's loss to Dortmund in the German Classico. Besides, they have renewed the record of the longest unbeaten run for newcomers in the German top flight. Although their unexpected defeat to the bottom side FC Ingolstadt knocks them off the Bundesliga summit, they are still level on points with Bayern, only ranking 2nd on goal difference. Leipzig's fantastic performance also has drawn the attention of Bayern. Carlo Ancelotti has warned that Leipzig will be a rival for the rest of the campaign. And the returning Bayern president Uli Hoeness even calls Leipzig "a new enemy".

FC Kaiserslautern once lifted the Salad Bowl in 1997-98 season as the newly-promoted side. As things stand, Leipzig seemingly have a chance to replicate this fairy tale. Now let's find out what makes Leipzig so outstanding this season.

Smart Leaders

7M - Can Leipzig be the next Kaiserslautern?
Ralph Hasenhuttl (left) and Ralf Rangnick (right)

Ralf Rangnick is Leipzig's current sporting director. His fame grew when he guided the Bundesliga new boys Hoffenheim to claim the winter champions in 2008-09 season. He took over as Leipzig's coach last term and achieved the historic promotion to the top flight. Then he resigned to fully concentrate on the management work. His successor, Ralph Hasenhuttl does not let him down. Hasenhuttl once coached another Bundesliga newcomers FC Ingolstadt in 2015-16 season, and his team finished that season comfortably in midtable, which was a great success.

Hasenhuttl is an astute tactician. He demands his men to be mobile without the ball and press their opponents all over the pitch. He wants his players to play with intensity and values physical stamina highly, which is like Jurgen Klopp's tactics. This season Hasenhuttl is on an amazing trip with Leipzig right now.

Young and Energetic Squad

7M - Can Leipzig be the next Kaiserslautern?
Young Players

Although there is no shortage of money for Leipzig, they do not have extravagant spending on expensive stars. If we look at Leipzig's new signings in this summer transfer window, we can find that all of their new players are under 25 years old and are worth less than 20 million Euros. Now they have a youngest squad in Bundesliga, with an average age of 23. From this point of view, Leipzig have a clear plan of building their team. They tend to buy players who are young and full of potential. According to Rangnick, even such superstars as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are not their targets as both of them are too old and too expensive.

In Hasenhuttl's philosophy, strong physical energy is needed to deal with high-speed transition between attack and defense on the pitch. Such a young squad can well satisfy Hasenhuttl. Now the players from Leipzig have covered a longest running distance in the Bundesliga. Besides, they can always score goals in the last 15 minutes, which shows their brilliant resilience.

Balance in Both Ends

7M - Can Leipzig be the next Kaiserslautern?
Emil Forsberg

Leipzig's current ranking in the league largely results from their balanced performance in both offensive and defensive ends. Emil Forsberg is called the successor of Zlatan Ibrahimovic in Sweden. He grows up to be the playmaker of Leipzig this season. With exquisite footwork and dribbling skills, Forsberg can easily break through the opponents' defensive line. Besides, he also has very strong long shot ability. After 14 league games, this Swedish winger has already scored 5 goals. Moreover, his 8 assists top all the other players in the Bundesliga. Timo Werner, on the other hand, is the spearhead of Leipzig. As the top scorer in the team, he has bagged 8 goals in this season.

Along with their brilliant front line, Leipzig's defense is also solid. 31-year-old stopper Marvin Compper is the leader in the back four. Under his guidance, Leipzig have only conceded 12 goals so far, which is the 3rd fewest in the league. Prolific up front and solid at the back, Leipzig deserve their current ranking in the table.

7M - Can Leipzig be the next Kaiserslautern?
Enthusiastic Fans

Can Leipzig be the next Kaiserslautern? It is still too early to make that verdict. But at least a spot for Europa League next season is nearly in hand. Just as striker Yussuf Poulsen said, "It's not the right time to talk about the title. We are focusing on our own game." If Leipzig's players keep working hard on the training field and give 100 percent on the pitch, they will stride towards their dream.

(7M / Oliver)

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