Promoted RB Leipzig will compete in next season's UEFA Champions League group stage. - © © gettyimages / Boris Streubel
Promoted RB Leipzig will compete in next season's UEFA Champions League group stage. - © © gettyimages / Boris Streubel

Wonderstruck RB Leipzig revel in Champions League feat


There will be a new face at Europe's top table next season after Bundesliga new boys RB Leipzig secured their safe passage into the UEFA Champions League group stage with a crushing 4-1 win away to Hertha Berlin.

The Saxony outfit didn't even exist eight years ago, but now have the continent's football heavyweights in their crosshairs.

Watch: Emil Forsberg on Leipzig's "unbelievable year"

"Before the game, we watched the best bits from our season so far," explained stand-in captain Diego Demme. "As the credits began to roll, the Champions League anthem played. Now we're actually going to be hearing it for real! It's an incredible achievement. Now we want to celebrate with the whole of Leipzig!"

Another symbol of Leipzig's inexorable rise to the top, veteran defender Marvin Compper could barely contains his emotions at the full-time whistle. The 31-year-old - the oldest player in Leipzig's squad no less - flirted with a top-four finish whilst on the books of promoted Hoffenheim in 2008/09, before rebuilding his career in the second tier - via Fiorentina - with Leipzig.

"We're in the hat for the Champions League!" Compper enthused. "I've never experienced that before, and I'm 31! It'll be a career highlight for me and the others. Other than Emil [Forsberg], I don't think any of us have played in the Champions League. We're all thrilled, but we've got two more games first. We've got Bayern at home next, and that's when we want to have a proper party with our fans."

Watch: A tactical masterclass RB Leipzig-style

Getting one over on the champions would doubtless be a fitting way to sign off at the Red Bull Arena for the campaign. Leipzig have already matched Bayern's long-standing season record - dating back to 1965/66 - for most Bundesliga wins by a promoted team (20), and will seal the nominal Vizemeister (runners-up) crown with a point from their final two games.

"We said from the start that we wanted a trouble-free season - and that's what we've had," said Leipzig sporting director Ralf Rangnick. "To go into the final two games without looking over our shoulders, as a promoted side, is a privilege. Four years ago we were playing in heavy snow against Union Berlin's second team. Now we're in the Champions League. It's just sensational."

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