A team to be feared in the Bundesliga, RB Leipzig's journey in Germany's top division has been short but thus far highly impactful.
bundesliga.com is taking you through all the teams to have graced Germany’s first division over the last 60 years – based on the number of seasons they’ve played up to and including 2023/24.
Leipzig as a city has a long and great footballing history. It was where the German FA (DFB) was founded in 1900, while four clubs from the city were amongst the first to register with the FA, and VfB Leipzig were the first national champions. Fast-forward over 100 years to the creation of RasenBallsport Leipzig and the Saxony city’s new premier club. They first started playing in 2009 when Red Bull purchased the playing rights for SSV Markranstädt in the fifth tier after failing in attempts to buy into Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 clubs.
The goal was to climb the divisions quickly, which they did, reaching the Bundesliga in 2016 after just seven seasons. Among the architects of the project was Ralf Rangnick, who came in as sporting director in 2012 while still in the fourth tier and signed now household names like Yussuf Poulsen (the club’s record appearance holder) and Joshua Kimmich (now of Bayern Munich) while back in the third division.
Rangnick’s time in charge saw Leipzig race to a runners-up finish in their maiden Bundesliga campaign and into the UEFA Champions League. Die Roten Bullen would even reach the semi-finals in Europe in 2019/20, having competed in a first DFB Cup final the year before.
The club’s strategy has always been to sign young, promising players and mould them into top-class talent. Prime examples are club record goalscorer Timo Werner, now Bayern defender Dayot Upamecano, Liverpool’s Ibrahima Konate and Dominik Szoboszlai, and Chelsea’s Christopher Nkunku, who in 2022/23 became the first Leipzig player to finish as Bundesliga top scorer.
Watch: All Nkunku's Bundesliga goals
The list goes on and even extends to the coaches with appointments of Julian Nagelsmann and Jesse Marsch in recent years. Leipzig have finished in the top four in all but one of their seven Bundesliga campaigns to date and now also have the silverware to underline their approach, having won back-to-back DFB Cups in 2022 and 2023, also appearing in four of the last five finals.