Julian Nagelsmann and RB Leipzig will no longer fall under the category of ” the underdogs” or “revelations” in Europe. They are genuine title contenders for the domestic competitions and to a lesser extent the Champions League title, currently held by their Bundesliga rivals Bayern Munich.
Although it is too early to make a prediction, the near impeccable start Leipzig had to this season, as well as their accomplishments over the last two years, would make it difficult to avert the eyes of them, especially their mastermind Nagelsmann.
Nagelsmann – in the league of his own
Nagelsmann became the manager of RB Leipzig last year following his productive spell at Hoffenheim as Bundesliga’s youngest ever manager. He inherited the managerial role left by Ralf Ragnick, who was instrumental behind Leipzig entering the fray. That said, Nagelsmann eased into the role of the new manager, leading Leipzig to a third-place finish in his first season.
Even in the Champions League, Naglesmann broke boundaries by helping Leipzig reach the sem-finals before they got seen off by PSG. The journey was quite similar to that of Ajax the previous season, causing several upsets to the top teams in the process. Tottenham and Atletico Madrid were their memorable victims, with the latter one getting succumbed in the quarter-finals.
Naglesmann’s greatest strength lies in his readiness to tactical adjustments depending on the opponents. Although his go-to formation has been a three at the back, he has utilized a four-man defence, a traditional 4-3-3 set up – best suited for dominating possession – and a 4-2-2-2 system. A quality that is absent with most of the German managers and even in Europe. High Press, counter attacks and possession football are some of Naglelsmann’s best weapons in his arsenal.
Against Atletico Madrid, one of the best matches in his career yet, Nagelsmann managed to breach the Spanish side’s defence, which is said to be one of the strongest defensive units in Europe.
Next up against Manchester United in Champions League
Nagelsamnn’s next biggest test, strongest as well, will be against Manchester United in the Champions League. As Leipzig and United haven’t faced each other before, this contest will be a belter. United have recently won against PSG and drawn against Chelsea, thus presenting themselves as tougher opponents for Leipzig. In addition, the Red Devils boast a star-studded line-up, which is absent with the German club. But that is what Nagelsmann’s side is all about – from young talents like Dayot Upamecano to underrated midfielder Marcel Sabitzer -, taking to the opposition irrespective of their familiarity and power.
Furthermore, Leipzig are off to a strong start this season with four wins and one draw, which has put them currently at the top of the table.