Xavi Simons has made a sensational start to a season-long loan at RB Leipzig, with five direct goal involvements in his first three Bundesliga appearances. - © IMAGO/motivio
Xavi Simons has made a sensational start to a season-long loan at RB Leipzig, with five direct goal involvements in his first three Bundesliga appearances. - © IMAGO/motivio

Xavi Simons: RB Leipzig's latest star in the making


The 20-year-old Dutch playmaker has made a splash in his opening Bundesliga appearances and looks destined to be the latest major talent in the game to blossom into a fully fledged star at RB Leipzig.

The group is already a big one: Dominik Szoboszlai, Christopher Nkunku, Dayot Upamecano, Dani Olmo and Josko Gvardial to name but a few - and all the signs at the start of the 2023/24 season are that Xavi Simons is due to join these big names on the list of talents who became stars of the game at Leipzig. 

If there had been any doubt as to the young Dutch creative force's impact on arrival, this was dispelled with a stunning drive into the top corner from the edge of the box to send Leipzig on the way to a 3-0 win at Union Berlin on Matchday 3. A statement goal in a statement win against fellow Champions League participants.

Watch: Stunning drive from Xavi Simons as Leipzig win 3-0 at Union

While all the attention was on the freshly arrived Harry Kane at the Supercup in August, the former Barcelona and PSG youngster made a decidedly impressive first competitive appearance for Leipzig as they ran out 3-0 winners over Bayern Munich.

The Dutchman's composure, pace, determination and intelligence were all immediately apparent as he conducted Leipzig's potent attacking play with his silky style - hitting a delightful ball over the defence for Timo Werner to chase after around 30 minutes of play and combining with fellow new signing Loïs Openda to set up an opportunity shortly before half-time.

Xavi continued to busy about as Leipzig went down to a 3-2 defeat at in-form Bayer Leverkusen on the opening matchday of the Bundesliga season - hitting 22 passes with an accuracy rate of 91 percent and completing 23 sprints before being substituted off in the 62nd minute.

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It was clearly going to be only a matter of time until Xavi's creative endeavours made a concrete impact - namely his first home appearance for Leipzig against Stuttgart in Matchday 2. He was the fulcrum in a fluent attacking move that saw him turn a ball forward for Olmo to turn and drive Leipzig 2-1 up in the 63rd minute. Simons then raced clear and reacted brilliantly to a save from Alexander Nübel to turn the ball in for his first Bundesliga goal as Leipzig racked up a stunning 5-1 win.

As if his sublime strike against Union Berlin were not enough, Simons clocked off before the international break with another breathtaking display of his talent. He orchestrated a killer break in the 85th minute by taking the ball down superbly well inside his own half, driving forward with great intent and threading a pass through the defence for Benjamin Šeško to chase onto and finish. That was his third assist in three matches (including one for Kevin Kampl in the win over Stuttgart), placing him joint top of the assist charts.  

Watch: Xavi Simons unveiled by RB Leipzig

The two-week club football hiatus did not stall the youngster's momentum either. During Matchday 4, Leipzig breezed past Augsburg 3-0, and Xavi was the star of the show. He opened the scoring after just six minutes with a diving header, before assisting Lois Openda's strike with a pinpoint first-time cross shortly after - that put him out on his own at the top of the division's assists rankings. It was another commanding display from a player who is fast becoming one of his side's most important performers.

It is small wonder that folk in Leipzig are raving about the impact of the loan signing from PSG. Coach Marco Rose said during the September international break that Xavi "is practically a prototype of exactly what we want for our play. He enjoys chasing loose balls and going into challenges, while he transmits such great energy off and on the ball. He is a gifted footballer too."

The five-time Dutch international was named on the 10-man shortlist of the Kopa Trophy, France Football's annual award for the best U21 player in the world - alongside Bayern Munich's Jamal Musiala. Leipzig fans and enthusiasts of fine technical football must be licking their lips at the prospect of witnessing the continued rise to prominence of the prodigious talent.