Marcel Sabitzer has been one of RB Leipzig's chief goal threats under Julian Nagelsmann in 2019/20. - © imago
Marcel Sabitzer has been one of RB Leipzig's chief goal threats under Julian Nagelsmann in 2019/20. - © imago

Marcel Sabitzer: Who is RB Leipzig's midfielder with shades of David Beckham?

He is the answer to RB Leipzig coach Julian Nagelsmann's demand for more goals from midfield, but what makes Austria international midfielder Marcel Sabitzer one of the Bundesliga's best all-round performers? turns the spotlight on the man who was arguably the key player in Die Roten Bullen's 2019/20 campaign.

Marcel Sabitzer

Age: 26
Club: RB Leipzig
Position: Midfielder
Country: Austria (41 caps/7 goals)

Key stats

"Last season, I was missing a little bit of calmness in front of goal. I've got that back," said Sabitzer, who netted nine Bundesliga goals in 32 appearances in 2019/20, more than doubling his 2018/19 tally. He hit the ground running having a hand in all four of Leipzig's strikes in their Matchday 1 romp over Union Berlin, and has not looked back. His brilliant brace in Leipzig's UEFA Champions League last-16 triumph over Tottenham Hotspur gave him the chance to show on the continental stage the talent that Leipzig and Bundesliga fans have seen flourish this season - ability that was underlined with his defence-splitting pass in the build-up to Tyler Adams' winner against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League quarter-finals.

Adding goalscoring to his long list of qualities does not mean the 2017 Austrian Footballer of the Year has neglected the others, registering seven league assists, winning 53.5 per cent of his challenges, and completing 78.5 per cent of his passes to give boss Nagelsmann a master-of-all-trades in his midfield.

Watch: All of Sabitzer's goals and assists in 2019/20

Plays a bit like: David Beckham

A goalscoring midfielder with killer set piece technique? Sabitzer is more than a little reminiscent of the former England captain, who made a career out of his remarkable swinging deliveries and long-range free-kicks.

He may be less of an out-and-out winger than the former Manchester United, Real Madrid and LA Galaxy star, but Sabitzer still shares his pinpoint accuracy from distance, as Werder Bremen found out when he netted a stunning free-kick on Matchday 5. The Austrian also scored from outside of the area against Hertha Berlin on Matchday 11, and demonstrated his versatility by lashing in with his left foot in the Matchday 1 thrashing of Union Berlin.

Sabitzer's cultured right foot has inflicted maximum damage at home and abroad for Leipzig this season. - imago images / Eibner

His glorious effort against Zenit St. Petersburg in the Champions League groups also showed that there is something of a showman in Sabitzer, who is starting to rack up a serious highlights reel. That Bremen free-kick was the fourth of his career and his third in Germany, after superb efforts against VfB Stuttgart and Bayer Leverkusen earlier in 2019. If you're keen to find someone in the Bundesliga who can truly bend it like Beckham, look no further…

Did you know?

Sabitzer's father, Herfried, was a striker for the Austrian national team, and played for Austria Salzburg — now Red Bull Salzburg, for whom his son also played — and Grazer AK.

What they're saying

"I have always said I want more goal threat from midfield. He clearly took that both literally and personally. He's a very important player for us." - Julian Nagelsmann, RB Leipzig coach

"He has great shooting technique. I've no where he gets it from, but he's always got it ready to go. Today it was really important because it was the winning goal, and an unbelievably good one at that. I'm happy for him." - RB Leipzig captain Willi Orban after Sabitzer's world-class strike at Zenit

"Marcel is a player who gives everything for 90 minutes, does a lot for the team and works a lot defensively.  He runs a lot, has some good technical moments, and is now scoring goals." - Franco Foda, Austria coach