RB Leipzig is getting ready for their second Bundesliga season knowing full well that this time around all eyes will be on the German side.
Leipzig enjoyed the kind of first season in the premier football tier that most teams can only dream about. For the good part of the season, the team was a genuine challenger to win the trophy. They ended up losing to Bayern, but earned themselves a second place, above usual vice-champions Borussia Dortmund. The team also qualified for the Champions League and have been given the all-clear by UEFA to take part in the competition. Certainly not too shabby!
Leipzig’s defender Willi Orban knows that season will be an uphill battle, with increased scrutiny on the team. It was certainly an impressive first season, but it’s rare that this kind of performances are carried out with the same consistency in the football world. Orban is hoping that nobody will be disappointed if the year’s end results will not measure up to last year.
“To be honest, that will be very hard. Not only because our schedule is tighter than last season, with a game to play every three days. There are teams like [Bayer] Leverkusen, Schalke or [Borussia] Monchengladbach that have high expectations and they are hungry because these teams did not finish where they expected themselves last season. However, the nucleus of our squad is the same as last season and we also added some really good new players. Therefore, we look positive into the future,” Leipzig’s captain tells Omnipress.
Indeed Leipzig’s greatest strength at the moment may be represented by the fact that the team has managed to keep their roster intact in spite of plenty of interest. Following the second place finish Europe’s top teams came calling for Leipzig’s young talent. The team’s representatives were unrelenting, opting not to sell and promising to employ a similar tactic to develop the squad in the next season.
“First, we have to cope with playing Champions League, Bundesliga and the DFB-Pokal, then we can talk about goals in terms of the table. We want to take the next steps and develop our game, we will see what we will get for our effort. And of course, players like [new signings] Bruma or [Jean-Kevin] Augustin help us to become a better team.”
Not only will RB Leipzig need to defend their newly acquired status against motivated German clubs, but they’ll also be taking on Europe’s giants in the Champions League. Orban says that the members of the squad will make the best of their opportunity, even if few expect them to triumph over higher reputation teams.
“We are looking forward to the group drawing and everybody on the team is just thrilled to play against the best teams in Europe. For most of us, the Champions League will be new terrain but that was Bundesliga as well last season. We won’t go out there and expect to win every game. We want to enjoy the games and get used to the level of play as quickly as possible. Then we will see how far that can bring us,” the 24-year-old added.