Last Season: 3rd
Coach: Marco Rose
Squad Valuation: €381.90m
Stadium: Red Bull Arena (47,069)
Much like the situation at Bayer Leverkusen with Xabi Alonso, the switch of coach early in the season from Pokal-winner Domenico Tedesco to Marco Rose proved an inspired choice as the new trainer turned around a poor start to the season to achieve a successful end to the season. The Leipzig-born coach led the Roten Bullen to a top three finish and a second successive DFB Pokal triumph.
The Rückrunde saw Leipzig emerge as the form team with seven wins from their last eight matches and they only finished five points behind Bayern and Borussia Dortmund. Their 3-1 win at the Allianz Arena son matchday saw them show that they could be a genuine contender and now that first win has been achieved, confidence and self-belief will grow.
The squad has been hit by the departure of four key players, but the club knew that this was coming and has prepared itself to hopefully lessen the impact. Konrad Laimer’s move to Bayern was announced last season and it was also no secret that Christopher Nkunku was going to be snapped up by Chelsea.
Domonik Szoboszlai’s move to Liverpool was not predicted, but with a very affordable release clause of €70 million his departure had to be reckoned with. Josko Gvardiol is another player, whose transfer to the Premier League has been an open secret. When you are considered one of the world’s best defenders and shine at a World Cup, then it is never long before the sharks of the Premier League come around.
Leipzig’s duo of Max Eberl and Rouwen Schröder have done an excellent job of providing quality replacements to give trainer Marco Rose a squad capable of carrying on from where the club left off last season- challenging at the top.
A club record fee of €43 million was splashed out on Lens striker Lois Openda and with young talent Benjamin Sesko also arriving, Leipzig hope to have covered the loss of Nkunku’s goal stream. Nicolas Seiwald from RB Salzburg is seen as like-for-like replacement for Konrad Laimer, while young French talents El Chadaille Bitshiabu and Castello Lukeba are seen as the defensive answer to Gvardiol’s departure. The hope is that they can replicate the success of Ibrahima Konaté and Dayot Upamecano.
Christoph Baumgartner has arrived from Hoffenheim, while loan signings Xavi Simons and Fabio Carvalho should see plenty of action. The club’s retention of Dani Olmo is also a major plus.
Major signings: Lois Openda (Lens), Castello Lukeba (Lyon), Christoph Baumgartner (Hoffenheim), Benjamin Sesko (RB Salzburg), Nicolas Seiwald (RB Salzburg), El Chadaille Bitshiabu (PSG), Xavi Simons (PSG loan), Fabio Carvalho (Liverpool loan), Leopold Zingerle (Paderborn).
Major departures: Josko Gvardiol (Manchester City), Dominik Szoboszlai (Liverpool), Christopher Nkunku (Chelsea), Alexander Sorloth (Villarreal), Tom Krauß (Mainz), Marcel Halstenberg (Hannover), Andre Silva (Real Sociedad), Konrad Laimer (Bayern Munich)
Youngster to watch: El Chadaille Bitshiabu
Such is the esteem in which he is held, Leipzig shelled out a reported €15 million for a player, who had made just 19 appearances for PSG. El Chadaille Bitshiabu is widely considered to be one of the most talented centre backs of his generation in Europe and reinforced this by helping the France win the U-17 European Championships in 2022. Unfortunately for RB Leipzig, he will have to wait to get started after suffering a knee ligament injury during an early training session with the club. A lay-off of a few months is expected, but he is definitely one to watch on his return.