bundesliga

RB Leipzig Fanzone: Getting to know Saxony's fearsome youngsters setting the Bundesliga alight

RB Leipzig have been living a fairytale since taking their very first steps in the Bundesliga in 2016/17. Three top-six finishes have ensured the club from Germany's former East has continued to grow, and the sky is the limit in Saxony.

History

Founded in just 2009 when energy drink company Red Bull bought the playing rights of SSV Markranstädt to the fifth tier Oberliga, RasenballSport Leipzig’s seven-year rise to the Bundesliga was certainly meteoric. Much of the club’s success is down to Ralf Rangnick, who took over as sporting director in 2012 with the side making their third attempt to win promotion from the fourth tier. He was immediately successful, and after bringing in then unknown youngsters such as Joshua Kimmich, Yussuf Poulsen and Diego Demme, RB reached Bundesliga 2 at the first time of asking.

The addition of further core players like Willi Orban, Marcel Halsenberg and Emil Forsberg ensured Bundesliga promotion within just two seasons in the second tier, bringing top-flight football back to the founding city of the German FA (DFB) for the first time in over two decades. Their maiden campaign in Germany’s top tier was equally barnstorming as they pushed champions Bayern Munich all the way for the title. In the end Ralph Hasenhüttl’s side fell just short, but a second-place finish did ensure UEFA Champions League football at the first time of asking as they became the first Bundesliga debutant since German reunification to qualify for Europe. Their second top-flight campaign ended in sixth with UEFA Europa League qualification, followed by a return to the Champions League with third place in 2018/19 as well as their first DFB Cup final appearance.

RB Leipzig have had plenty to shout about since their arrival in the Bundesliga. - 2019 Getty Images

Honours

Bundesliga 2 promotion (2015/16)
Third division promotion (2013/14)
Regionalliga Nordost champions (2012/13)
NOFV-Oberliga Süd champions (2009/10)
2x Saxony Cup

Coach

Julian Nagelsmann will take over in Leipzig for the 2019/20 season after Ralf Rangnick kept the dugout warm in 2018/19. The youngest head coach in Bundesliga history joins from Hoffenheim as the club extend their youthful policy from the players to the coaching staff. After turning Hoffenheim from relegation candidates to European contenders, what can Nagelsmann achieve with the ever-improving Leipzig?

One of the best tactical minds in the game, Julian Nagelsmann takes over at Leipzig for 2019/20. - imago images / Picture Point LE

Star man

In a team full of youthful exuberance, 23-year-old striker Timo Werner is a leader from the front. Already Germany’s first-choice striker, he has 61 competitive goals in just three seasons for the club. Averaging a goal every other game, the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup Golden Boot winner is among the most prolific goalscorers in Bundesliga history. Already the youngest player ever to reach 100 and 150 Bundesliga appearances, you suspect yet more records may be broken by the Leipzig striker.

Watch: Analysing Timo Werner

Last season

Despite 2018/19 being seen as a bit of a transition season as the club waited for the arrival of Nagelsmann from Hoffenheim, it turned out to be an excellent campaign. Die Roten Bullen finished a comfortable third in their third Bundesliga season, boasting the best defence in the league, to set up a return to the Champions League for a second time. They crowned the year with a maiden appearance in the DFB Cup final, where they came up short against Bayern in their hunt for a first major trophy.

The stadium

Leipzig’s Red Bull Arena has stood in its current form since 2004, when it was reconstructed within the city’s old Zentralstadion in a manner similar to Chicago’s Soldier Field. The rebuild was done for the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany, where Leipzig hosted five games. RB took over the stadium in 2010, which currently holds 42,959 spectators for football matches but can hold up to 50,000 for concerts, and the name was changed to the Red Bull Arena.

A stadium within a stadium: The Red Bull Arena is actually built inside the old Zentralstadion. The banks on the left are the old terraces. - 2018 DFL

The city

One of the largest cities in former East Germany, Leipzig has the nickname “City of Heroes” for the role it played in the fall of communism in Eastern Europe and German reunification because of the peaceful Monday demonstrations that took place outside St. Nicholas Church during the 1980s. Over a quarter of a century later, those peace prayers are still held on Mondays, and the church remains one of the most potent symbols of German reunification outside of Berlin.

Since reunification the city has undergone massive redevelopment as it looks to compete with other metropolises in the former west. But despite the extensive modernisation, the city’s history remains a focal point for visitors. The most famous museum is the “Runde Ecke”, which is based in the old headquarters of the Stasi in the city. Nowadays it is dedicated to informing about the function, methods and history of East Germany’s former secret police. For those with further interest in the former German Democratic Republic, there is a popular shop known as “Ossiladen” that only sells products from the old East Germany. Described as a “time capsule in a shop”, it is a must for anyone who wants a taste of the East German experience.

As well as vast open areas to enjoy, including Germany’s oldest botanical garden containing around 7,000 different species and one of Europe’s most modern zoos, the Bach Archive is an institute researching and documenting the life and work of Baroque musician Johann Sebastian Bach, who lived in the city for 27 years before his death.

A final must-see monument in the city is the Völkerschlachtdenkmal – the Monument to the Battle of the Nations. Standing at almost 300 ft tall, it commemorates the defeat of Napoleon at the Battle of Leipzig in 1813, which was at the time the largest battle in Europe before World War I featuring 600,000 soldiers from across the continent.

Getting there

Leipzig/Halle Airport primarily serves European and domestic destinations. Travellers from further afield will likely have to connect in international hubs such as London, Istanbul or Zurich, while frequent internal connecting flights are also available from major international airports such as Cologne/Bonn, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt and Munich. German high-speed ICE trains also run frequent services between Berlin and Munich with a stop in Leipzig, making Berlin only an hour away. There are also direct connections from Frankfurt Airport.

The Red Bull Arena is in easy reach of the centre of Leipzig. - DFL

Getting to the Red Bull Arena

The Red Bull Arena is well connected in the Leipzig public transport network. Tram lines 3, 4, 7, 8 and 15 all pass by the stadium and the closest stations are Waldplatz or Sportforum Süd. On matchdays additional services are also provided with lines 51 and 56. All match tickets entitle holders to free public transport for four hours before and four hours after the game.

Buying tickets

Tickets can still be bought via the official club website HERE.

Watch on TV

If you can’t make it to the stadium, Bundesliga matches are broadcast around the world. FOX Sports and Univision provide coverage in the United States, while BT Sports are the exclusive broadcaster in the United Kingdom. In Germany, Sky Sports show the majority of matches, with Eurosport hosting one match per week.

- RB Leipzig

Buying the kit

You can get your own Leipzig jersey from the official club shop.