It's safe to say Emil Forsberg (l.) would rather play with RB Leipzig teammate Dayot Upamecano (r.) than against him. - © imago
It's safe to say Emil Forsberg (l.) would rather play with RB Leipzig teammate Dayot Upamecano (r.) than against him. - © imago
bundesliga

"No one gets past Dayot Upamecano - not even me!" - RB Leipzig's Emil Forsberg

RB Leipzig's Emil Forsberg says teammate and France U21 defender Dayot Upamecano is worth every bit of the hype.

Upamecano, 21, has flourished since joining Leipzig from Red Bull Salzburg midway through the 2016/17 season, making over 100 competitive appearances for Die Roten Bullen.

Thanks to an uncompromising approach to his bread and butter defensive duties - he averages 70 per cent average for aerial challenges won - and a cultured build-up game that has him upwards of 90 per cent for passes completed, the 6'1" Frenchman already ranks among the world's best defenders.

Upamecano (c.) has gone from stength to strength since joining Leipzig at the age of 18. - DFL

"Dayot could play for any team in the world," explained Forsberg, who was enjoying his and Leipzig's debut season of Bundesliga football when Upamecano came along. "No one gets past him - not even me!"

Forsberg is the latest in a long line of Leipzig players to wax lyrical about Upamecano. Leipzig striker Timo Werner previously said of the towering Frenchman: "I've not seen a faster centre-back, and he has an unbelievable physique. He can become as good as Jerome Boateng if he can keep improving."

Fellow Leipzig frontman Yussuf Poulsen went one further: "He is the best centre-back. He is a top player, fast, clever, good in a challenge; it's just very hard to get past him."

Watch: Dayot Upamecano's roots

The statistics give weight to the immovable-object theory.

Third-placed Leipzig boasted the joint-best defensive record in the division (26 goals conceded) when the 2019/20 season was postponed due to the Coronavirus pandemic, with Upamecano having played in 21 of the club's 25 league matches.

As things stand, Leipzig could claim the honour of having the Bundesliga's best backline for the second successive campaign. They ended 2018/19 with 29 conceded across 34 games - three fewer than champions Bayern.

Upamecano, who has also registered three goals and one assist in his 76 Bundesliga appearances to date, is contracted to Leipzig until summer 2021.

"I hope he stays here as long as possible," said Forsberg of the 15-time France U21 international.