Bad runs of form are part of football and no team is immune from defeat, but having started the New Year with three successive defeats, RB Leipzig have dropped out of the top four and are in real danger of setting a highly unwanted Bundesliga club record should they suffer another loss at home to Union Berlin on Sunday. Is it too early to be talking of a mini-crisis at the Red Bull Arena?
Only once in the club’s eight-year Bundesliga history have they lost three league games in a row and that was back in the 2021/22 season when consecutive reverses to Hoffenheim, Bayer Leverkusen and Union Berlin cost coach Jesse Marsch his job. Granted, the American coach had taken the club to a lowly 11th place in the league seven points off the top four, but the present position under Marco Rose is also now causing concern.
Die Roten Bullen currently sit fifth just three points behind Borussia Dortmund in fourth, but they are a massive 16 points adrift of leaders Bayer Leverkusen. The question arises as to what a fourth successive defeat would mean and whether the confidence in Rose would start to be questioned.
The coach has admitted that things are far from satisfactory and he has faced the current slump head on stating that it is only results that can help the situation right now. “We’re not happy,” Rose explained. “We’ve lost our last three games. We’re not used to this. The three games were all different. Now, it’s important that we don’t sugarcoat things. We need to address some painful subjects, especially after the match against Stuttgart.
“It’s also important to note that, after all the comings and goings in summer, we were able to get into a good rhythm and play well in a lot of games. At the end of the day, though, football is a results business and we’re not getting the results at the moment. We’re well aware of that, but we know full well what we’re capable of achieving. We want to show that on Sunday.
“It’s about finding a good balance. The lads have to realise that not everything will go in our favour straight away and that mistakes will happen. Then, it’s about finding the right way around this pressure situation.
“It’ll be a difficult game [versus Union Berlin] which will be decided by the fine margins. As RB Leipzig, we can be quietly confident of winning the game with the great players that we have, the things we’ve worked on and our fans behind us, who we’ll definitely need at the weekend.”
They started the year with a 1-0 home defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt. They conceded early to Ansgar Knauff and then were unable to convert any of their 31 efforts on goal. The following game brought a very entertaining clash with leaders Bayer Leverkusen, in which they played well to lead twice only to concede an injury time winner. Last weekend however was not so good as they collapsed against VfB Stuttgart. In the game at 2-1 at half-time, they conceded three more to lose 5-2 at the end.
The fact that Leipzig face Eastern rivals Union Berlin at home on Sunday could work out in one of two ways. Either the arrival of their rivals from the capital will spur them on to raise their performance levels and repeat the win they achieved on matchday 3 (3-0 at the Alten Försterei), or they will face a resurgent Union (themselves desperately in need of points) and potentially suffer a record-breaking fourth Bundesliga defeat.
A fourth loss would be a new experience for the Saxony club- would it be a crisis and a potential problem for Marco Rose?