RB Leipzig finished third in the Bundesliga last season and reached the semi-finals of the Champions League but may find it tough going repeating that feat in 2020-21 after losing star striker Timo Werner to Chelsea.
The Germany international netted 34 goals in all competitions for Julian Nagelsmann’s team and has been the team’s top scorer for the last four seasons, meaning his loss will be keenly felt. Yet RB Leipzig have made some shrewd moves in the transfer market and another top-four finish can’t be ruled out.
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Starting with the 2020-21 season, anyone in the US can watch every RB Leipzig game live on ESPN+:
ESPN+ will have live coverage of every Bundesliga match in 20-21, as well as DFL Supercup, Bundesliga 2, Serie A, FA Cup, Carabao Cup, MLS and other live sports. It also includes every 30-for-30 documentary and additional original content (both video and written) all for $5.99 per month.
Or, if you also want Disney+ and Hulu, you can get all three for $12.99 per month, which works out to about 31 percent savings:
Once signed up for ESPN+, you can watch every RB Leipzig match live on the ESPN app on your Roku, Roku TV, Amazon Fire TV or Firestick, Apple TV, Chromecast, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, iPhone, Android phone, iPad or Android tablet. Or you can watch on your computer via ESPN.com.
RB Leipzig 2020-21 Preview
All eyes will be new arrival Hee-chan Hwang in 2020-21 as RB Leipig begin life without Werner. The South Korea striker has been brought in from Red Bull Salzburg and came up with 16 goals and 21 assists last season
The 24-year-old has also made a bright start to life with his new club. He scored and assisted on his debut in a comfortable 3-0 win over Nuremberg in the first round of the DFB Cup.
Nagelsmann told SportBild he knows it will be difficult to replace Werner but is counting on his team to pull together and spread the goals around.
“We’ve already signed Hwang Hee-Chan, but replacing the goals of Timo is a big challenge. Obviously you can’t do it like-for-like, so we’ll have to share out his [34 goals and 13 assists] between more players.”
Marcel Sabitzer will certainly contribute goals from midfield. The Austrian managed 16 goals and 11 assists in 44 outings last season, and his creative influence is key to Nagelsmann’s team.
There are plenty of other attacking threats throughout the side too. Players such as Yussuf Poulsen, Dani Olmo, and Christopher Nkunku will all be expected to step up and help make up for the loss of Werner.
Yet it’s worth noting that defensively RB Leipzig remain strong. They only conceded 37 goals in 34 games in 2019-20, a record only bettered by champions Bayern Munich.
Center-back Dayot Upamecano is one of Europe’s most exciting defenders and continues to be linked with a host of top clubs across the continent. The 21-year-old signed a contract extension at RB Leipzig in July until 2023 to quieten speculation over his future.
Nagelsmann told ESPN he is confident Upamecano will stay at the club for 2020-21 but is not sure how much longer his team will be able to keep hold of their young France international.
“He will be here for the season. I’m sure about that. As for the future, I’m not sure as he is very talented. Lots of club will want to buy – perhaps next season it could be real that he leaves the club. But this season he will stay.”
“It is normal when you work with young guys that clubs will try and find young talented guys in the transfer market,” he added. “It is normal that bigger clubs will try and buy these players.
“You have to deal with that, you’ve got to be one step forward when you buy new players or find new players. Our scouting should be good and we have made a lot of good decisions in the transfer market.”
Leipzig hardly lack for options in defense though with 21-year-old Ibrahima Konate, Willi Orban, Lukas Klostermann, Nordi Mukiele, and Marcel Halstenburg all in the squad.
Transfer Ins and Outs
Hwang’s arrival is RB Leipzig’s most eye-catching signing but the club have made other moves which will also prove important. Left-back Angelino has returned on loan from Manchester City with an option to buy.
The 23-year-old impressed last season on loan and told SportBild he even turned down interest from Barcelona in order to stay at the Red Bull Arena.
“It’s great that one of the biggest clubs in the world wanted me. But in my head it was always clear: I want to stay with RB and not at another club – no matter who it was about. Leipzig suits me, the club’s high goals fascinate me. I’m just as hungry as the club.”
Full-back Benjamin Henrichs has also joined on loan and is back in the Bundesliga where he started his career with Bayer Leverkusen. Leipzig have also signed 18-year-old attacking midfielder Lazar Samardzic from Hertha Berlin.
There could be more arrivals too before the close of the window. Nagelsmann has confirmed the club are in talks to bring in striker Alexander Sørloth.
“He is a good player, who could be a replacement for Patrik Schick. We are in talks with him. He had a very good season at Trabzonspor, scoring many goals. If he could replicate that goal ratio in the Bundesliga, it would be outstanding.”
Werner is not the only player to depart this summer. Patrick Schick has returned to Roma after his loan spell ended, Ethan Ampadu is back at Chelsea, while Hannes Wolf had joined Borussia Dortmund on loan.
Manager: Julian Nagelsmann
Nagelsmann has already broken plenty of records since heading into coaching. He became the Bundesliga’s youngest-ever permanent coach when he took charge of Hoffenheim at the age of 28. Nagelsmann then made more history by becoming the youngest coach ever to reach 100 Bundesliga appearances.
The former defender, who has been called ‘Baby Mourinho,’ took charge of Leipzig in 2019 and oversaw an impressive first campaign. More will undoubtedly be expected of the 33-year-old in 2020-21, and it will be fascinating to see how Nagelsmann and his team cope with life after Werner.