A sellout local crowd saw RB Leipzig enter the Champions League against French champions Monaco. In a vibrant atmosphere, over 40,000 fans watched them gain their first point in the group stage of the competition. Based on this performance, they have a strong chance of qualifying for the knock-out stages, too.
RB Leipzig Enter the Champions League
It has been a stellar but controversial rise from the lower reaches of the German football league system for Leipzig. However, talk to the people in the ‘global city’ and they will say the region deserves a top-level club. RB Leipzig represents that city and the East of Germany in the Bundesliga and now in the prestigious Champions League.
Ralph Follows Ralf
After challenging Bayern Munich all the way, they eventually finished second in the Bundesliga last season and hence qualified for the Champions League. Austrian coach Ralph Hasenhüttl helped pilot Leipzig into the top level by continuing the methods of previous coach Ralf Rangnick. Such methods have transformed the likes of Timo Werner into international players.
RB Leipzig 1-1 Monaco
Werner offers pace and work rate that fits neatly into Leipzig’s high-intensity strategy. Due to this, he was often the main threat in their game against Monaco. Though it was another of their stars, Emil Forsberg, who would deliver the opening goal. The Swede broke down the left and produced a drive that beat Monaco ‘keeper Diego Benaglio at the near post. However, before the home fans could celebrate too much Monaco had levelled. Belgian Youri Tielemans forced home the equaliser at the second attempt. Leipzig produced more threats but Monaco managed to combat the pressure and stayed solid through the middle. The Ligue 1 champions looked happy enough with the draw.
Leipzig Could Qualify
Though neither side looks likely to go deep into the Champions League, the group, which includes Porto and Besiktas, is not the strongest. Hence it offers chances for both RB Leipzig and Monaco to progress. Many will be wary of underestimating Leipzig who will soon see the return of another star man, Naby Keita. Many others will be hoping they get eliminated – and quickly.
The Future of Football
Look far into the future and we may see Google United play Apple City in a World League. RB Leipzig could be a precursor to that eventuality. But the evidence from watching RB Leipzig enter the Champions League is that, despite some misgivings, fans will cheer them onwards. Love them or hate them, perhaps in time RB will be accepted in the same way as Bundesliga stalwarts Bayer Leverkusen. Whether that is good for the sport is another question.
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